The first auctions are over! Mobile operators are therefore preparing to launch 5G at 3.5 GHz. The launch of 5G can take place from November 18, 2020.
Orange explained that the confinement would not lead to further delays for 5G in France. 5G in the 3.5 GHz could therefore be launched from November 18, 2020 in the best case. It is up to each operator to prepare with administrative and commercial steps.
What are the next steps ?
As a reminder, the auctions for one of the first frequency bands used by 5G (3.5 GHz) have ended. Orange was the most greedy of mobile operators (4 blocks of 10 MHz), which will allow it to have more capacity and theoretically higher speeds than its competitors.
- SFR has recovered 80 MHz (3,490 to 3,570 MHz) for 728 million euros
- Bouygues Telecom has recovered 70 MHz (3,570 to 3,640 MHz) for 602 million euros
- Free Mobile has recovered 70 MHz (3,640 to 3,710 MHz) for 605 million euros
- Orange has recovered 90 MHz (3,710 to 3,800 MHz) for 854 million euros
The positioning auctions enabled Free, for an amount of 3.096 million euros, to choose its place in the frequency band. Positioning close to the end of the frequency bands can cause interference and impair the quality of the deployed mobile network. The Telecoms Authority (Arcep) has given the green light for the continuation.
Even though the auctions are over, 5G is yet to be deployed. There are now long and tedious administrative procedures. Mobile operators will submit requests to the National Frequency Agency (ANFR) for each deployment of 5G antenna. This deployment will have to be accompanied by an information file for mayors (DIM), this is a request from the government to force operators to systematically inform mayors. For new antennas, but also for updating existing equipment.
SFR and Free Mobile have yet to announce 5G offers
Mobile operators will therefore both deploy the first antennas, with deployment obligations, and ensure the commercial launch of 5G. Orange and Bouygues Telecom have already announced 5G offers, we are still awaiting offers from SFR and Free Mobile.
As we explain very well in our dedicated report, this deployment of 5G in 3.5 GHz is only the first step, mobile operators will be able to deploy 5G on 700 MHz, 1800 MHz but also in 2100 MHz . This 5G is called 5G sub-6, it designates the frequencies used in 5G and below the 6 GHz bar.
Then, it will be a question of deploying 5G on millimeter waves, the famous mmWave frequencies at 26 GHz, which offer fewer ranges but much greater speeds.