The selling amount is significantly more than the one previously recommended by the country’s telecoms regulator Arcep. Arcep’s president Sébastien Soriano said earlier this week that the minimum price for the sale of the spectrum should not be higher than 1.5 billion euros.
“The floor (price) that we’re proposing seems reasonable to us,” Pannier-Runacher told French newspaper Les Echos. “It’s up to the government to assume its responsibilities and decide.”
Arcep kicked off the long-awaited sale of 5G spectrum on Thursday, ending months of intense debate between the country’s telecoms operators and authorities on how to best deploy the new ultra-fast mobile internet technology. Disagreements between the finance ministry and the telecoms authority over the spectrum to be auctioned and the minimum price for the 5G frequency blocs postponed the process, two sources close to the matter told Reuters this week.
The French minister also said that it will not follow the US in their ban of Huawei equipment over security concerns, including the Chinese tech giant in the initial rollout.
“We do not target one equipment maker,” Pannier-Runacher told BFM Business television on Monday. “There is no exclusion. There are three equipment makers active in France. Huawei has a 25% market share, there is also Nokia and Ericsson. Samsung is not active yet in France but is interested by 5G. The government will not exclude anyone. We are not following the position of the United States,” she added. “We will proceed on a case by case basis.”
Telecoms operators will have to seek permission from the prime minister for their 5G network projects, and receive clearance based on national security considerations.