French telecom regulator Arcep announced that it will launch the tender for 700 MHz licences in July to allocate them by the end of the year. One outstanding issue is the fourth MNO, Free Mobile’s request that it be guaranteed spectrum. The state expects slightly over EUR 2 billion from the auction, according to the 2015 budget. The frequencies, which offer better in-building penetration, will will swap from terrestrial TV to mobile between October 2017 and June 2019.
Arcep has released the operators’ feedback to its consultation about the auction. In its response, Free, said that because it has less spectrum than its competitors, the auction must guarantee it frequencies. The other three MNOs disagree, saying that Free Mobile had the opportunity to bid in the previous auction of 800 MHz spectrum.
The decision on whether to reserve spectrum for Free Mobile will be made by Arcep and the government.