5G on the way to French overseas territories

5G on the way to French overseas territories

Arcep – l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques, des postes et de la distribution de la presse, aka the French telecoms regulator – has launched a public consultation linked to a number of French overseas territories.

The aim of the consultation is to prepare the terms and conditions for the allocation of the 700 MHz and 3.4 - 3.8 GHz frequency bands in Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, specifically for 5G. Arcep has invited stakeholders to comment by 18 December 2020.

According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, Arcep has identified the following ranges for 5G use: 703MHz-733MHz/758MHz/788MHz (FDD mode); 3.4GHz-3.8GHz (TDD mode); 24.25GHz-27.50GHz (TDD mode).

Interference issues and the use of certain bands for fixed broadband may limit the spectrum offering in some areas. However, these issues are covered by what appears to be a comprehensive document well over 30 pages long which discusses present coverage, future requirements (including indoor coverage), what 5G can offer and the various bands in which it operates, among many other subjects.

This isn’t the first time such a consultation has focused on French overseas territories. On 19 December last year, Arcep launched a public consultation with a view to preparing the procedures for awarding licences to use frequencies in the 700 MHz band in Reunion and Mayotte, and in the 3.4 – 3.8 GHz band in Reunion.

The choice of bands seems to be because, as Arcep puts it, the 700 MHz and 3.4 – 3.8 GHz bands have been identified in Europe as being among the ‘pioneer’ frequencies for launching 5G networks.

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