Junior Economy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher told French newspaper Les Echos: “The floor (price) that we’re proposing seems reasonable to us.” It’s up to the government to assume its responsibilities and decide.
The regulator Arcep started the long-awaited sale of 5G spectrum ending months of intense debate between the country’s four telecoms operators and authorities on how to best deploy the new mobile technology.
Wary of the heavy investments needed for the deployment of the new mobile technology, Arcep’s president Sébastien Soriano said earlier this week that the minimum price for the sale of the spectrum should not be higher than 1.5 billion euros.
Disagreements between the finance ministry and the telecoms authority over the spectrum to be auctioned and the minimum price for the 5G frequency blocs postponed the process.
For French authorities, the key issue is to find the right balance between raising cash from the sale and avoiding putting an excessive financial burden on telecoms operators so that the deploy the pricy technology fast.
Germany and Italy have raised about 6.5 billion euro each through 5G spectrum auctions, an amount that shocked the industry and raised concerns among the four French telecoms operators — Orange, Altice Europe’s SFR, Iliad and Bouygues Telecoms — whose margins are already suffering.