5G frequencies: the Council of State rejects appeals from environmental associations

The Council of State rejected the various appeals filed by environmental and citizens’ associations against Arcep’s decisions concerning the procedure for allocating the first 5G frequencies to operators.

Dismissal of appeal in connection with 5G frequencies

This decision “Validates the procedure for allocating frequencies in the 3.5 GHz band and the authorizations issued in this band to the four metropolitan mobile operators (Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom, Free). It therefore closes all disputes relating to said procedure ”, has indicated Arcep in a press release.

The associations Pour Rassembler, Informer et Agir contre les Risks Associés aux Technologies ElectroMagnétique (PRIARTEM) and Act for the Environment had filed appeals before the Council of State to annul these decisions. The allocation last year of the first 5G frequencies to French operators brought in 2.8 billion euros to the state. The operator Orange won most of the frequencies with 90 MHz of spectrum in the end, against 80 MHz for SFR, and 70 MHz each for Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile.

Initially scheduled for April 2020 but postponed to October 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these auctions have enabled operators to acquire 11 frequency blocks, paving the way for the first marketing of 5G offers throughout the country. Before these auctions, the four operators had each obtained a 50 MHz block in the frequency band from 3.4 to 3.8 GHz on the electromagnetic spectrum, at a fixed price of 350 million euros.

However, 5G has aroused hostility from a section of public opinion, politicians and NGOs. They question the interest of this new technology, citing risks to health or the environment. To the point of having sparked a heated debate within the political class between the calls for a moratorium on left-wing elected officials and environmentalists, and the scathing response of Emmanuel Macron who had joked about “the Amish model” preferred by the adversaries of 5G.

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