France launches 4G auction while Russia announced 1800 MHz sale

France has officially launched its auction of 4G spectrum in the 700 MHz band and Russia will be offering spectrum in the 1800 MHz band in September.

The French auction was officially kicked off by Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and junior minister for the digital economy Axelle Lemaire, according to a Reuters report. There will be six lots of 2×5 MHz spectrum offered up on the 700 MHz band made available by improvements to digital terrestrial television compression standards. A reserve price of 416 million euros has been set for each block, which will be gradually freed up over the next four years.

There are currently four Operators in France: Orange, SFR, Bouygues and Free and ARCEP, the French telecoms regulator is allowing each one to bid for up to three blocks. This could, in theory, lead to two of the operators coming away with nothing from this auction, although the result of the auction can’t result in any single operator holding more than 2×30 MHz of lower band spectrum (700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz).

Over in Russia Roskomnadzor, the telecoms agency, announced a 1800 MHz auction will happen in late September, according to Total Telecom. Specifically spectrum in the 1710-1785 MHz and 1805-1880 MHz bands will be offered up with specific chunks for each of Russia’s massive regions and it looks like winners are free to use the spectrum as they see fit.

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