Arcep consults on 5G and other uses for frequency bands

France —

French communications regulator Arcep launched a public consultation on the future uses of several frequency bands and on the proposed methods to allocate them.

The consultation intends to help identify which frequencies are best suited to support 5G and a range of other next generation communication technologies.

The two-month consultation – “New frequencies for territories, companies, 5G and innovation” – will run alongside the regulator’s year-long investigation into the use of a range of bands, including the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz frequencies widely eyed for 5G.

The frequencies in question are in the 2.6 GHz, 3.5 GHz, 1.4 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 400 MHz, 26 GHz and part of the 700 MHz bands. In particular, Arcep is proposing to allocate 40 MHz in the 2.6 GHz band for professional mobile radio (PMR) networks and 40 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band for fixed wireless broadband networks in rural areas, starting in the second half of 2017. What remains of the 3.5 GHz band will be assigned to future 5G services.

The feedback from the consultation, which closes on 06 March, will be used alongside the lessons learned from the ongoing trials currently underway in the 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands. Around ten pilots have been carried out in these bands since Arcep launched a test phase on 30 March 2016, which aimed to trial innovative network services, including fixed wireless, PMR and IoT applications.