Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR are planning to purchase 5G spectrum in France, the regulator, Arcep, said on Wednesday.
“All four candidates have stipulated their desire to obtain one of the four blocks of 50 MHz that will be awarded in exchange for the commitments set forth in the procedure,” Arcep said in a statement.
Arcep added it was hoping to award the 5G licenses by June at the latest. In November, a government minister said that Frances’s 5G spectrum would be sold at a floor price of 2.17 billion euros or $2.4 billion.
The French government in December said it had fixed the price of a bloc of 50 MHz at 350 million euros ($386 million), and the price of an additional bloc of 10 MHz at 70 million euros.
Germany and Italy have raised about 6.5 billion euros or $7.2 billion each through 5G spectrum auctions.
France’s last spectrum auction in 2015 raised 2.8 billion euros for the state coffers. Under the current plan, the 5G frequency blocs up for grabs are within the 3.4-3.8 gigahertz bandwidth.
A first set of blocs will be granted at a fixed price and a second will be auctioned.
5G is available in nine European countries, including Spain, Britain, Ireland, Germany and Italy, making France one the last large nations on the continent to adopt the new generation cellular network technology.