France’s 5G frequency block auction fetches 2.8 billion euros

The first block of 5G frequencies has been auctioned off in France for nearly 2.8 billion euros, with the country’s biggest operator Orange taking the biggest share. Other companies who participated in the auction included Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Free.

The national telecom regulator Arcep had put 11 unused frequency ‘blocks’ on sale. These frequencies will be reserved for the fifth generation network services. The 5G networks, which are up to 100 times faster than the existing 4G network, are expected to roll out in some of the French cities by the end of 2020.

Thanks to its lightning fast data transfer speeds, it is expected to usher in new technological applications such as self-driving cars, IoT (internet of things) devices and remote surgery applications.

The French operators had already paid 350 million euros each for 50 megahertz of spectrum on the available frequency bands. “This was a successful auction, and we have to commend the very strong commitment by the operators to invest significantly in France,” Arcep president Sebastien Soriano said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, the restrictions placed by France on the use of Huawei equipment in building the 5G network will benefit European companies Ericsson and Nokia.

(with agencies)

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