France awards licences to test 5G network in real-life situation

The French government, alongside with the country’s Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority (Arcep) announced a dozen of 5G trial platforms using the 26 GHz band, have been created in order to assess the performance of the new network.

Agnes Pannier-Runacher, State Secretary to the French Minister of Economy and Finance and Sebastien Soriano, Arcep chief, unveiled on Monday a list of the first 11 projects “… to embrace the possibilities this frequency band provides, and to discover new uses for 5G. ”

Highlighting that the 26 GHz band was identified as the pioneer 5G band in Europe, Arcep said French government was encouraging testing of these frequencies in real-life situations as the bands have never been used for mobile networks up to now.

“The government and Arcep wanted to lift two major obstacles to innovation: cost and the technical skills needed to install these networks, particularly for the players that are least familiar with telecommunications,” Arcep said.

“These use case tests are meant to give the French ecosystem a head-start in this frequency band, by helping it to mature. They will provide initial feedback in identifying innovative types of use,” it added.

In exchange for making their infrastructures available to third parties to perform their own 5G experimentation, the companies securing the trial spectrum will be authorized to use 26 GHz frequencies for a period of up to three years.

Besides, the players whose projects were selected must have an operational 5G trial network by Jan. 1, 2021 at the latest, and publish the terms and conditions for accessing the trial network.

The selected schemes focus on logistics, smart city, mobility, sports and events coverage in addition to telecommunications sector.