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France To Hold Auction And Offer Licences For 5G Rollout

French telecoms regulator Arcep plans to roll out a high-speed 5G mobile network in the country through an auction and also directly hand out licences to operators in exchange for infrastructure investments.

Frequencies are to be granted for 15 years, with a possible five-year extension, a document outlining the process showed on Monday.

The government wants to ensure equal access to 5G throughout French territory, hence the decision to combine an auction and a standard selection procedure, the document said.

France’s four main telecoms operators Orange, Bouygues Telecom, Altice Europe’s SFR and Iliad regularly compete in costly spectrum auctions.

Investors are concerned about the potential hefty price these operators could end up paying in the auction amid a protracted pricing war that is weighing on profit margins.

Italy, one of the first European countries to offer frequencies for 5G services, stunned markets last year by raising some 6.5 billion euros ($7.5 billion) for state coffers in its auction.

A similar process in Germany fetched some 6.55 billion euros.―Reuters

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