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6 lots of 4G frequencies available, Free can try its luck on half

The telecommunications regulator finally clarified the terms of the auction process for the 700 MHz band whose frequencies must supply 4G services. The raw material consists of 30 MHz frequency in the 700 MHz band from the second digital dividend (the audiovisual frequencies transferred to the telecoms), divided into 6 lots of 5 MHz.

Arcep-logoFor each lot, the reserve price (minimum price) is 416 million euros, which means that the State will recover at least 2.5 billion euros from the operation. And because Free has fewer 4G frequencies than other operators, theArcep has instituted a specific rule: no operator may hold more than 30 MHz of frequencies in the low bands (from 700 to 900 MHz).

The three operators Orange, Numericable-SFR and Bouygues Telecom already owning 20 MHz in these bands, they will not be able to buy more than 2 frequency batches, while Free will bet on 3 lots (the maximum allowed) and thus recover 15 MHz in the 700 MHz band.

Each operator must indicate in his file how many lots he wishes to buy, at the reserve price. Depending on demand, a new tour will be launched with a price increased by 5 million euros in batches, and so on, until the six blocks are allocated.

The echoes notes that the operators' battle will then be played out over their placement in the 700 MHz band, which may be more or less interesting in terms of interference and proximity to other services.

Finally, Arcep imposes under the conditions of allocation a massive deployment schedule in the 700 MHz band, especially in rural areas, to avoid large discrepancies between dense urban areas and less dense areas covered much later. The railway axes should also be the subject of a continuous deployment. It's in december 2015 that the attributions will be pronounced, before a commissioning starting in April 2016 and extending until the end of June 2019.