France’s 5G spectrum auction to have a base price of $2.4 billion: Junior Economy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher

Frances’s 5G spectrum is slated to be sold with a base price of $2.4 billion (2.17 billion euros) – an amount that is significantly more than the figure that was previously recommended by the country’s telecoms regulator Arcep.

Earlier last week, wary of heavy investments that will be required for deploying 5G technology, Arcep’s president Sébastien Soriano had said, the minimum price for the sale of the spectrum should not be higher than 1.5 billion euros.

France’s economy ministry has the final say on the floor price.

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

Last Thursday, Arcep had kicked off the long-awaited sale of 5G spectrum ending months of debate on how to best deploy 5G mobile technology. According to two sources close to the matter at hand, disagreements between the finance ministry and the telecoms authority over the spectrum and the minimum price for the 5G frequency blocs created hurdles for the process.

French authorities are trying to find the right balance between raising funds from the sale of 5G frequency bands while avoiding putting an excessive financial burden on telecoms operators such that they are able to deploy the pricey technology fast at an affordable manner.

With Italy and Germany raising around 6.5 billion euros each, vide their respective 5G spectrum auctions, the amount has shocked the industry and has raised concerns among the four French telecoms operators – Altice Europe’s SFR, Orange, Bouygues Telecoms and Iliad, who are already facing a long drawn price war.

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