France Postpones 5G Auction
French telecoms regulator Arcep put plans for a 5G spectrum auction, scheduled to take place in April, on hold. The regulator said that the coronavirus outbreak made it impossible to press ahead with the sale, planned for April.
The logistical reasons around virus containment measures in France have caused the process to be postponed, according to an Arcep representative. The regulator must now study different postponement scenarios and be ready to organise the auctions when we know more. The decision comes after French president Emmanuel Macron on 16 March ordered residents to abstain from non-essential travel and gatherings for 15 days to help stem the spread of the virus.
Spectrum in the 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz bands was due to be auctioned in blocks of 10MHz. Arcep stated in February that all four major French operators had also qualified for a fixed-price sale of 50MHz blocks, which was due to be allocated at the same time as spectrum won in the bidding process. Arcep originally aimed to issue the spectrum by June at the latest, and the auction and fixed-price allocation are expected to raise at least €2.2 billion.