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Successful auctions for the state. The allocation of the first 5G frequencies to French operators brought in 2.786 billion euros, announced Thursday, Arcep, the telecoms regulator. While the arrival of the fifth generation of mobile telephony arouses criticism, the government says it is ready to answer citizens’ “questions”.

The French state pocketed 2.786 billion euros during the auction for the allocation of the first 5G frequencies. Among the four competing operators, Orange did well, winning most of the frequencies.

Initially scheduled for April but postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these auctions enabled operators (Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom, Free) to acquire 11 “blocks” of frequencies that are currently unused, paving the way for first 5G services launched in certain French cities at the end of the year.

Prior to this auction, the four operators had each obtained a block of 50 megahertz (MHz) in the frequency band from 3.4 to 3.8 gigahertz (GHz) on the electromagnetic spectrum, at the fixed price of 350 million. euros.

An operator could not, in total, acquire more than 100 MHz. And it is Orange which won most of the frequencies with 90 MHz of spectrum in the end, against 80 MHz for SFR, and 70 MHz each for Bouygues Telecom and Free.

This main auction will be followed by a positioning auction “in October” allowing operators to choose whether they prefer to be located in the center of the band or at its ends, more susceptible to interference with other services.

“With 90 MHz of 5G spectrum, Orange will be able to consolidate its leadership in mobile networks and will develop an efficient 5G network, a guarantee of attractiveness and competitiveness for France”, welcomed Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange. , quoted in a press release.

Controversial technology

“These are fruitful auctions. We must salute the very strong commitment of the four operators who confirm their willingness to invest heavily in France,” said Sébastien Soriano, president of Arcep, during a press point organized for the used at Ericsson France headquarters in Massy, ​​near Paris.

“This is an important figure”, welcomed Cédric O, Secretary of State for digital, also present at Ericsson France, one of the main global telecoms equipment manufacturers, for the announcement of the result.

However, 5G arouses hostility from part of the public, politicians and NGOs, who question the interest of this new technology, citing risks to health or the environment.

To the point of having sparked a heated debate within the political class since the call for a moratorium on the allocation of frequencies by nearly 70 elected left and environmentalists in mid-September, and the scathing response of Emmanuel Macron who had joked about “the Amish model” preferred by opponents of 5G.

“After a number of exchanges in society”, the president of Arcep launched a “call for dialogue”, saying he wanted to work “hand in hand” with operators and elected officials to deploy the 5G network on all the territory.

First measurements in October

“The government hears the questions and understands the demands for reinsurance” on health and environmental issues, added Cédric O, who will present, on October 8, “the first measures” concerning the energy consumption of mobile telephone antennas, before the launch forthcoming of a “control plan” on exposure to 5G waves.

Regarding dialogue with local communities, he promised that elected officials would be “systematically” warned of the arrival of a 5G antenna through the creation of a “specific committee”, whose first meeting will be held on October 22.

“5G is an important technology as part of the government’s recovery strategy,” he added, recalling France’s delay in the deployment of the new generation of mobile network, already launched in “30 countries in the world “, in particular by the large European neighbors (Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain).

The first generation of mobile telephony made it possible to make calls, 2G to add text, 3G to start sending images and 4G to develop mobile Internet and video uses. Ultimately, 5G must offer higher speeds and connect everything that cannot currently be.

With AFP

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