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Arcep unveils first 5G tests in the 26GHz band in France

The French regulator has shared details of 11 projects it has selected for trials.

Background: In January 2019, Arcep and the French Government issued a joint call for the creation of 5G trial platforms to be available to third parties, using the millimetre wave spectrum in the 26GHz band. The objective was to pave the way for all players to embrace the possibilities this frequency band provides, and to discover new uses for 5G.

11 Projects have been selected: This week, Arcep and the Ministry for the Economy and Finance presented the first projects that have been selected. These range across several areas of activities, such as logistics, smart cities, mobility, sports events coverage. In total, Arcep reports that more than a dozen projects responded to the call to create trial platforms. Some of these are led by traditional telecom industry players; others are by “verticals” or consortia outside telecommunications. Some projects are focused on one area in particular; other projects have a broader target and plan on hosting any kind of innovative enterprise. Arcep carried out analyses of the “technical maturity” of these projects, and decided to award test licences to 11 of them.

What next? Licence holders can use the spectrum for a period of up to three years. They must have an operational 5G trial network by 1 January 2021 at the latest, and make it available to third parties to perform their own 5G trials. They must also publish the terms and conditions for accessing the trial network, and provide Arcep with a detailed report on the trials conducted through the platform, including names of the other parties that are using the platform. Arcep will also examine new applications over the coming weeks.