Closing the Year with a Bang: The French 800 MHz Spectrum Auction

The year closes with the 800 MHz spectrum auction in France where the regulator Arcep netted €2.639 billion for the 60 MHz made available. In September, Arcep raised €936 million from the sale of 2.6 GHz spectrum for a total of €3.6bn, about €1.6bn over the €2.5bn reserve price.

The three major operators, Orange, Bouygues and SFR, all won a 2×10 MHz license. SFR paid the most at €0.84/MHz-PoP, while Bouygues license came at €0.54/MHz-PoP. SFR has set an aggressive tone from the outset to ensure it got a piece of this prime spectrum after feeling pressure from the Greenfield operator Free Mobile. Fee Mobile will get access to SFR’s 800 MHz network in rural areas after its own 2.6 GHz network covers 25% of the French population.

France 800 MHz Spectrum Bandmap

France 800 MHz Spectrum Bandmap

Operator

Spectrum Awarded

Winning Bid (€)

€/MHz-PoP

Bouygues Telecom Block A 791-801 MHz / 832-842 MHz

683,087,000

0.54

SFR Blocks B+C 801-811 MHz / 842-852 MHz

1,065,000,000

0.84

Orange France Block D 811-821 MHz / 852-862 MHz

891,000,005

0.71

Total

2,639,087,005

0.697

Overall, prices for the 800 MHz band in France are just below those paid in Germany and much over the price paid in economically distressed Spain.

Band

Price of 10 MHz

Price/MHz-PoP

USA

700 MHz

$3,676,995,769

$1.188

Italy

800 MHz

€493,750,000

€0.81

Germany

800 MHz

€596,079,167

€0.729

France

800 MHz

€439,847,834

€0.697

Spain

800 MHz

€217,554,765

€0.473

Sweden

800 MHz

€36,725,520

€0.393

In all, this caps a big year for spectrum auctions which I don’t expect 2012 will beat in total value overall. Nevertheless, we can still look for the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz auction in the UK coming in the second half of 2012 and the 700 MHz auction in Canada, both of which will be very interesting to watch.

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About Frank Rayal
Telecom industry management consultant.

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