Wednesday, June 15, 2011

4G licenses: auctions are open

ARCEP announced that the auction for 4G licenses were open. The? Yes, because there are two bands, one around 2.6 GHz, the other closer to 800 MHz. The first allows a wide bandwidth - there are 70 MHz to share - the second has the advantage of covering a larger distance and thus would cover the campaigns, even if it offers "only" 30 MHz.

For the 2.6 GHz band, 70 MHz will be divided into lots of 5 MHz with a minimum of 10 MHz per operator and a maximum of 30 MHz, to avoid competitive imbalances. Four licenses will be awarded by auction, for a period of 20 years. The availability of frequencies depends on the region: no earlier than October 1, 2011, no later than 1 March 2014, with a coverage requirement of 75% of the territory in 12 years.

The deadline for submissions is close enough: September 15, 2011. The minimum price of licenses is 50 million per 5 MHz bandwidth. In the 800 MHz band, released by analogue TV services, the coverage requirement is increased (because of the scope): 98% in 12 years and 99.6% in 15 years. There are four frequency blocks: two 5 MHz and two 10 MHz with a maximum of 15 MHz per operator.

The minimum price is 300 million euros (5 MHz), the maximum is $ 1.1 billion (15 MHz). The records should arrive before December 15. Remains until the beginning of deployment and particularly the influx of 4G phones. Recall that eleven years after the first experiments in 3G, 2G phones are still best sellers in the world.

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