Arcep publishes a draft decision for consultation on synchronising 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band networks to ensure their coexistence

Today Arcep is launching a public consultation on a draft decision regarding the synchronisation of terrestrial networks operating in the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band in Metropolitan France.

Use of the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band: 5G rollouts, superfast wireless broadband and WLL

The 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band is currently being used in Metropolitan France by superfast wireless broadband and wireless local loop (WLL) networks that provide fixed internet access services in the regions.

In 2020, it will also begin to be used by 5th generation (5G) mobile networks, as stipulated in the 5G Roadmap for France.

As a result, rules need to be established to enable all of the band’s users to coexist harmoniously.

Network synchronisation: the solution to ensure their coexistence

To identify the technical solutions that will enable networks operating in the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band to coexist, Arcep drew on:

  • the contributions it received to the public consultation held from 26 October 2018 to 19 December 2018 on assigning new frequencies to 5G;
  • the work done by the expert committee that Arcep created in October 2018 to obtain technical expertise on mobile network issues.

This parallel work concluded that network synchronisation was the most suitable solution. It would mean that network equipment would operate simultaneously at all times, whether on the uplink (the network receives communications) or the downlink (the network transmits communications).

Proposed synchronisation rules for networks operating in the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band

Arcep is thus holding a public consultation on a draft decision that:

  • uses an LTE and 5G-compatible synchronisation frame to ensure network coexistence;
  • allows the networks not to use this frame provided they do not cause interference with the networks that do, nor claim a right to protection against such interference.

Contributors are invited to submit their feedback to Arcep before 11 June 2019.

After having analysed the contributions it receives to this consultation, Arcep will adopt the Decision and submit it to the Minister responsible for electronic communications for approval.

Associated document