Arcep clears Digicel and Free’s Antilles-Guyane network sharing

Arcep clears Digicel and Free’s Antilles-Guyane network sharing deal

French regulator Arcep has approved Digicel and Free Caraibe’s network-sharing arrangement for the Antilles-Guyane region (covering French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique).

Digicel and Free Caraibe first drafted the agreement in February 2020 before signing the deal 16th December that year. The companies plan to build out and a shared RAN over the next two years that will be owned and operated by new joint venture Madiacom.

As reported by CommsUpdate, the deal will involve temporary cross-sharing of low-band frequencies in the 800MHz and 900MHz bands. While the RAN is deployed, Digicel will authorize Free Caraibe to roam on its spectrum as part of the transition.

In December last year, the companies informed Arcep that this transitory phase would last no longer than two years, but would be extended geographically during this time to encompass additional territories.

An amendment to their agreement specified that the this phase could be extended by mutual consent by a maximum of one additional year if deemed necessary as a result of any technical issues with the implementation.

The operators also laid out their roadmap for the overseas territories to Arcep, stating that they would provide annual progress reports as they look to boost mobile coverage and quality of service. The firms plan to install over 500 cell sites by 2025, as well as deploying new infrastructure in French Guinana by end-2022.

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