ARCEP closes bidding for 700MHz spectrum

French telecom regulator ARCEP secured €2.8 billion from this week’s auction of 700MHz spectrum, currently used for digital-terrestrial broadcasting. The auction saw Free Mobile and Orange secure 10MHz each, while Bouygues Telecom and SFR each secured one block of 5MHz.

Each candidates position on the frequency band has yet to be determined, and the regulator has invited the telcos to submit their preferences by tomorrow, along with how much they would be willing to pay to secure first choice.

Orange said the spectrum win was a “milestone” in its development in France, with a total of 30MHz of sought-after low-range frequencies in its portfolio of over 90MHz of spectrum. The company said that the 700MHz frequencies, for which it is paying €932 million, will be used “in particular to reinforce the capacity and speed of the Group’s very high-speed mobile broadband network, particularly indoors and in rural areas, and to prepare for the introduction of 5G once this technology is available”.

Free Mobile, the other big winner, said that the win gave it a total of 55MHz of 3G and 4G spectrum.