France's 5G spectrum set to be sold at minimum price of 2.17 billion euros


France’s 5G spectrum is set to be sold at a floor price of 2.17 billion euros ($2.4 billion), which is significantly bigger than the amount formerly suggested by Arcep, France’s telecoms regulator.

Arcep’s president Sébastien Soriano, who has been leery of large investments to fund the deployment of the new mobile technology, said that the spectrum must be sold at a price not higher than 1.5 billion euros.

The final floor price of the 5G spectrum would depend on France’s economy ministry.

“The floor (price) that we’re proposing seems reasonable to us,” said Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Junior Economy Minister. “It’s up to the government to assume its responsibilities and decide.”

Arcep commenced the anticipated sale of the 5G spectrum on Thursday, after months of intense discussions between France’s top four telecoms operators on how to best release the new mobile technology.

The deployment of the 5G spectrum was delayed due to disagreements between France’s finance ministry and telecoms authority regarding its floor price, according to two sources.

For the authorities, the key issue was to find a balance between raising cash and keeping away from placing too much financial burden on the telecoms operators, in order to deploy the technology fast.

Both Germany and Italy have raised 6.5 billion euros through auctions of 5G spectrum, shocking the industry and raising concerns within France’s four telecoms operators—Iliad, Altice Europe’s SFR, Orange, and Bouygues Telecoms—whose margins were already squeezed due to the price war.

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