French ministry sets 5G starting price at €2.2B

French authorities plan to sell each operator in the country 50MHz of 5G spectrum for €350 million and then auction a further 11 lots with a minimum price of €70 million apiece, a high-ranking politician told Les Echos.

Speaking days after regulator Arcep confirmed the terms of the sale, the country’s secretary of state to the minister of economy and finance Agnes Pannier-Runacher (pictured) called the proposed sums “reasonable”.

However, in an interview with Le Figaro last week Arcep president Sebastien Soriano said the minimum price for the complete allocation should be set at the much lower rate of €1.5 billion.

The final decision on the price of the sale sits with the government, with Arcep only asked to provide recommendations.

Under the plan existing mobile operators will be allowed to buy a licence for 50MHz of 5G suitable spectrum for €350 million in return for agreeing to commitments around coverage and availability. The remaining 110MHz on offer will be put forward to the auction.

During her interview, Pannier-Runacher said the fixed price was set at a “very attractive” price, noting in the German 5G spectrum auction operators had to pay twice as much for the same amount. She added the coverage commitments would be “much more ambitious than in other countries”.

Assuming the rules are approved as they stand, the auction is expected to take place in April 2020, with commercial launches slated to swiftly follow.