France awards licenses to test 5G network in real-life situation

France on Tuesday announced that a dozen of 5G trial platforms, using the 26 GHz band, has been created in order to assess the performance of the new network.

The French Government, alongside with the country’s Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority (Arcep), made the announcement.

Agnes Pannier-Runacher, State Secretary to the French Minister of Economy and Finance and Sebastien Soriano, Arcep Chief, unveiled the first 11 projects on Monday.

“This is to embrace the possibilities this frequency band provides, and to discover new uses for 5G,’’ Soriano said.

Arcep said French government was encouraging testing of these frequencies in real-life situations, as the bands have never been used for mobile networks up to now.

He made the comment while highlighting that the 26 GHz band was identified as the pioneer 5G band in Europe.

“The government and Arcep wanted to lift two major obstacles to innovation – cost and the technical skills needed to install these networks – particularly for the players that are least familiar with telecommunications.

“These use case tests are meant to give the French ecosystem a head-start in this frequency band by helping it to mature.

“They will provide initial feedback in identifying innovative types of use.’’

In exchange for making their infrastructures available to third parties to perform their own 5G experimentation, the companies securing the trial spectrum will be authorised to use 26 GHz frequencies for a period of up to three years.

Besides, the players, whose projects were selected, must have an operational 5G trial network by Jan. 1, 2021 at the latest, and publish the terms and conditions for accessing the trial network.

The selected schemes focus on logistics, smart city, mobility, sports and events coverage in addition to the telecommunications sector. 

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