Deployment of mobile services on the 700 MHz band: end of the auctions in France
On 16 November 2015, ARCEP (the French regulator of the electronic and postal communications) has started the auctions for the 700 MHz band. The four major French operators have submitted applications, deemed admissible by the regulator. The main auction ended on 17 November and the price has reached EUR 466 million per block of 5 MHz duplex, or a total of EUR 2.796 billion. The results are as follows:
Bouygues Telecom has won 1 block;
Free Mobile has won 2 blocks;
Orange has won 2 blocks;
SFR has won 1 block.
In order to propose frequencies in the band of 700 MHz to mobile operators, they should be available. However, until the beginning of April 2016, this band will be used for broadcasting certain DTT channels. To do so, a readjustment of the DTT will be made on the night of 5 April. The MPEG-2 compression standard will then definitely make way for the MPEG-4 (HD), which implies for viewers to be equipped with a compatible decoder and/or device.
In an Opinion published on 10 November, the French broadcasting regulator CSA voted in favor of the mobile deployment draft Decree on the 700 MHz band, expressing only some objections on three points.
Concerning the "costs supported by audiovisual providers," the CSA explained that the draft Decree "expressly excludes" costs related to changes in standard coding and the reorganization of the multiplexes. The CSA therefore hopes for "at least a partial funding of the costs of these operations, as well as a compensation for broadcasting operators."
The same applies to local authorities, some of which manage directly DTT transmitters.
Finally, with regard to "the cumulative risks associated with the multiple operations planned in the night of 4 and 5 April 2016", the CSA recommended that "a less expensive and risky alternative would be to separate these operations by ensuring, during the first night, the success of the reorganisation of the MUXs and coding changes before the launch, during the second night, of the readjustment allowing the release of the 700 MHz band.”
CSA's Opinion on the mobile deployment draft Decree on the 700 MHz band (FR)
Press Release ARCEP (FR)
Source: EPRA Secretariat