Paris, 30 July 2012
The company Bouygues Telecom holds a licence to use spectrum in the 1800 MHz band to deploy a second generation (2G) mobile network, corresponding to GSM technology.
In an informal fashion for several months, and then in a letter dated 19 July 2012, Bouygues Telecom appealed to ARCEP for permission to use its spectrum in the 1800 MHz band for a fourth-generation (4G) network, based on LTE technology, by virtue of Article 59 II of Order No. 2011-1012 of 24 August 2011 on electronic communications.
Bouygues Telecom has argued lifting the GSM-systems-only restriction attached to 1800 MHz band frequency licences must enable the use of additional resources for deploying ultra high-speed mobile networks, in addition to the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz band spectrum that was already allocated following a call for applications in 2011.
In accordance with the regulatory framework, "ARCEP will inform the applicant of the conclusions of its re-examination within eight months of having received the request and, if applicable, of the new terms and conditions that it plans to attach to the undertaking's spectrum licence". To this end, ARCEP is required to "take appropriate measures to ensure equality between operators and the conditions for effective competition".
It is within this context that ARCEP has been engaged in preparatory work on the prospect of technologies other than GSM reusing the 1800 MHz band. This work has been carried out in concert with the stakeholders, in particular through a series of meetings between mobile network operators and ARCEP Executive Board members from late June to early July.
ARCEP is now launching a public consultation, which will run to 28 September 2012, to obtain feedback from the stakeholders on the terms and methods for lifting the GSM systems only restriction attached to 1800 MHz band frequency licences.
The Public Consultation (pdf - 1.14 Mo) (in French only)