Telecoms operators in France brought the price tag for the country’s 5G spectrum on the first day of the 5G spectrum auction to at least 2.4 billion euros or $2.81 billion on Tuesday, Arcep data indicated.
France is behind neighbouring countries such as 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 twice since the start of the year.
The sale, overseen by telecoms regulator Arcep, caps a year-long process for the four mobile carriers, Orange, Altice Europe’s SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad, which are concerned a cash-hungry state may use any opportunity to fill its coffers.
The government has said the overall 5G spectrum auction would have to yield at least 2.17 billion euros.
That represents the floor price at which the government is ready to sell 310 MHz. The French government has agreed to sell a block of 50 MHz to each telecoms 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 at a minimum of 70 million euros, or 770 million euros in total. The auction continues until the companies ask for more blocks than the 11 on sale.
As of Tuesday, the price of single block of 10 MHz had risen to 90 million euros, a media statement issued by Arcep said.
This means the minimum price for the 5G spectrum has risen by 220 million to about 2.4 billion euros ($2.81 billion).
Orange is asking for 5 blocks, followed by SFR (3 blocks), Bouygues Telecom (3 blocks) and Iliad (2 blocks), Arcep said.