Fixed wireless access

Businesses Digital Transformation

Connectivity for vertical industries: Arcep announces the creation of a window for allocating 2.6 GHz TDD band spectrum

Professional mobile radio (PMR) networks are local networks that satisfy the specific connectivity needs of certain companies and organisations, also referred to as “vertical” industries – typically operating in infrastructure-centric sectors. These systems are generally designed to remain operational even during major emergencies, and can provide specific features such as the ability to make group calls. They can be deployed either to ensure a locale’s security, or as a business tool for companies that want a bespoke communication tool, e.g. for managing passenger, water or energy transport networks or Internet of Things networks.

More powerful and competitive professional mobile networks

These networks are currently based on robust but low-speed (2G) technologies. Having access to superfast (4G, and later 5G) systems would make them significantly more powerful and competitive: it would enable real-time video transmission over PMR, for instance, which in turn would improve security (video surveillance) and open the way for new uses such as the ability to control autonomous shuttles remotely.

After consulting with economic stakeholders, Arcep identified the 2.6 GHz TDD (2570 – 2620 MHz) (1) band as a highly suitable choice to support new generation PMR, and the emergence of new applications. Compatible and time-tested equipment is already available for use with the band, which would enable rapid rollouts and make it especially well-suited to planned uses, notably critical applications.

Arcep has already authorised more than 20 trials in this frequency band, in the areas of aeronautics, energy and transport in particular. And stakeholders are now ready to commit.

5G outlook 

The introduction of 5G in this frequency band, which will usher in a range of improvements in terms of performance and communication capabilities, is currently being examined at the European level.

A new solution in entrepreneurs’ and industry players’ toolkit

By making this frequency band available, Arcep is adding a new solution to the toolkit for vertical industry players that want their own superfast network (see inset below), to be able to develop innovative services and achieve a successful digital transformation, and to make France a European leader in releasing frequencies to create faster and more powerful PMR networks.

Arcep will open the window on 9 May after having taken the latest feedback into consideration

Arcep held a public consultation last year on the methods to use for allocating the 2.6 GHz TDD band. Today, Arcep is publishing the responses to this consultation along with a new version of the procedural document. It wants to collect final feedback from stakeholders on the document, and notably on the methods to be used to verify compliance with coverage obligations, and on the rules of technical coexistence that are detailed in the document.

Stakeholders have until 26 April 2019 to send their remarks to Arcep:

Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes
14, rue Gerty Archimède, CS 90410 75613 Paris Cedex 12

The frequency allocation window will be opened on 9 May 2019.

The creation of this window is part of a set of measures that Arcep has taken to help French businesses be more competitive and more innovative:

• Release of the 915 – 921 MHz frequency band for IoT networks is currently underway, which will provide a harmonised frequency band for the Internet of Things with Asia and North America, and pave the way for economies of scale for global LPWAN smart object networks, along with the ability to move smart objects more easily from one continent to another.

• Providing enterprises wanting to test a technology or an innovative solution with a regulatory sandbox, allowing market players to test their innovation without necessarily having to comply with the entire regulatory framework that normally applies.

• Allocating frequencies for experimental purposes, for instance to test innovative 5G use cases (pilots).

• As announced by Secretary of State, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, vertical industry players’ access to 5G will also be a consideration in upcoming 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band allocations.

(1) 2.6 GHz TDD: technical name given to the 2570-2620 MHz frequency band