Paris 16 February 2000
On 31 January 2000, Autorité de Régulation des Télécommunications (ART) closed the application procedure for the designation of radio local loop operators in the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands. Today, it publishes the complete list of applicants.
- 28 companies have submitted 218 applications
The initial list of the 21 applications that ART made public on 1st February 2000 has been added to with applications received at a later date by post (accepted according to stamp), or from subsidiaries from companies appearing in the initial list.
In all, 28 companies have applied for all of France.
There are at least two—and often more than two—applicants for each of the geographic areas covered by these application procedures.
Thus, metropolitan regions have at least four applicants, with a minimum of four for Corsica and a maximum of fifteen for Ile de France (Paris region). Each of the Overseas Départements has at least two applicants, with a maximum of five for Guadeloupe.
|Application procedures for the 2 metropolitan licenses (3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands)||8 candidate companies|
|Application procedures for 2 licenses for each of the 22 metropolitan regions (26 GHz)||18 candidate companies||Between 4 and 15 applications per region|
|Application procedures for 2 licenses for each of the 4 Overseas Départements |
|7 candidate companies||between 2 and 5 applications per Département|
There are three kinds of applicant:
- players already operating in France who already have licenses for other telecommunications activities, such as Cegetel, 9 Télécom Réseau and Completel
- new entrants, such as Broadnet France and Altitude, and
- consortiums of players already holding authorisations and new partners, especially investors; such as the Fortel consortium composed of UPC, Marine-Wendel and NRJ, the Proximum consortium composed of French operator Louis Dreyfus Communications, American operator Teligent, and Artemis, the François Pinault holding, or the consortium composed of FirstMark Communications, Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, Groupe Arnault, groupe Rallye, BNP Paribas and the Rothschild Group.
A detailed list of applicants of each of the application procedures is included in the annex to this press release.
- What is a radio local loop?
The radio local loop is a technology which allows telecoms operators to connect their customers to the public telecommunications network via radio.
For operators, recent developments in this technology make it an attractive and innovative solution for offering telephony and competitive high-speed Internet services in addition to current wire-based means such as optical fibre, cable and ADSL. The advantage of the radio local loop is that it is very flexible to implement, allows progressive investments and can be used to offer a broad range of services.
For users, this technology offers new prospects with access to new high-speed services via other channels than the local network of France Telecom, which still has a quasi-monopolistic position on local loop markets.
Thus, the introduction of radio local loop systems is a major issue for telecommunications in France, because it contributes to opening the market to effective and long-lasting competition on the high-speed local loop to the benefit of users.
- The application procedure launched by ART
Following an initial experimental phase begun in 1998, ART opened a selection process for radio local loop operators via an application procedure for the commercial operation of these technologies on two separate bands: 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz.
The application procedure opens the way to up to 54 operators in France, with four operators in every metropolitan region and two in each Overseas Département, with the allocation of:
- two national licenses for the entire metropolitan territory for the joint use of the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands
- two licenses for each of the metropolitan regions for the use of the 26 GHz band
- two licenses for each of the four Overseas Départements for the use of the 3.5 GHz band
The physical characteristics of the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz frequency ranges are complementary: frequencies at 26 GHz can be used for the most densely populated zones or for customers requiring higher speeds, whereas the greater range of 3.5 GHz systems can be used to cover larger geographic areas where traffic is less dense.
Short-term deployments in these two bands should allow the development of medium- or high-speed symmetric services (such as specialised link services with multiple speeds of 64 kbit/s and 2 Mbit/s) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in urban and suburban areas. They also allow the development of medium-speed services at 144 kbit/s to 1 Mbit/s, which are 3 to 20 times greater than speeds on the traditional telephone network, for large consumer residential customers and SOHOs.
- Expected schedule
ART has already begun the licensing procedure, and will publish the list of candidates selected for each application procedure by 31 July as required by law.