Arcep launches a public consultation on making the "pioneer" 26 GHz band available to kick-start 5G rollouts

Paris, 22 May 2018

A disruptive generation, 5G must enable a jump in performance in terms of connection speeds (due to increase tenfold), transmission time (tenfold decrease) and the reliability of communications. It is expected to be a veritable "facilitator" of society's digitisation, by enabling the development of new uses and applications: virtual reality, autonomous and connected cars, smart cities (traffic control, optimised energy consumption), industry of the future (remote operation of production tools, machine connectivity)…

New frequency bands to satisfy the needs of new applications and their very high capacity and very low latency imperatives

To satisfy coverage requirements, 5G will need to use new low frequency bands, namely 3.4 - 3.8 GHz band frequencies, which were the subject of an Arcep consultation in January 2017.

To satisfy very high capacity and very low latency imperatives, it will also need to use frequencies well above the highest ones being employed today, i.e. in the millimetre wave bands above 24 GHz. In Europe, the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) identified the 26 GHz band as the "pioneer" band in this range of millimetre wave frequencies, for a maiden use of the band before 2020.

Making the 26 GHz band available to host 5G

26 GHz band frequencies are currently assigned to Arcep, and used by radio-relay systems. The public consultation being launched today seeks to obtain stakeholders' feedback on the framework governing 26 GHz band licences for radio-relay systems. It is concerned in particular with the feasibility of and methods for migrating these systems to other frequency bands, to be able to make the band available for 5G.

Examine the conditions for the coexistence of 5G frequencies and ground stations for space exploration

In France, 25.5 - 27 GHz band frequencies are allocated to the Ministry of Armed Forces, the National Centre for Space Research (CNES) and France's Meteorological Department. The 26 GHz band therefore also hosts ground stations for the satellite space exploration department and the fixed satellite service.

Regarding this second point, the present public consultation seeks to assess the possible issues and conditions attached to having ground stations co-exist with future 5G networks. Stakeholders' responses will provide Arcep with input for the work being done by a working group of the different stakeholders, and led by the Directorate-General for Enterprise and the National Frequency Agency (ANFR).

Arcep's earlier preparatory work on 5G

This consultation follows through on the work that Arcep has done previously to prepare for the advent of 5G, including:

• the publication of a report on "5G: Issues and challenges" in March 2017, • the public consultation: "New frequencies for the regions, businesses, 5G and innovation" in January 2017, • 5G trial authorisations in Lille, Douai, Bordeaux and Lyon in February 2018, • Creation of a "5G pilot" window in January 2018.

The public consultation will run until 18 June 2018.

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