France is behind neighboring countries like Germany, Italy and Spain in the race set by the European Commission to offer 5G services by the end of 2020. France has postponed the spectrum auction to two times since the beginning of the year.
The sale, overseen by telecoms regulator Arcep, caps a one-year process for the four mobile operators, Orange, Altice Europe SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad, who fear that a liquidity-hungry state could seize any opportunity to fill his coffers.
The government has said the global 5G spectrum auction is expected to bring in at least € 2.17 billion.
This represents the floor price at which the government is prepared to sell 310 MHz. The French government has agreed to sell a 50 MHz block to each telecom operator for 350 million euros, or 1.4 billion euros in total.
The remaining 110 MHz are on sale in this auction, by block of 10 MHz and for a minimum of 70 million euros, or 770 million euros in total. The auction continues until companies ask for more blocks than the 11 on sale.
As of Tuesday, the price of the single 10 MHz block had risen to 90 million euros, according to a press release published by Arcep.
This means that the minimum price for 5G spectrum has increased from 220 million to around 2.4 billion euros ($ 2.81 billion).
Orange requests 5 blocks, followed by SFR (3 blocks), Bouygues Telecom (3 blocks) and Iliad (2 blocks), said Arcep.