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France's 5G spectrum auction delayed to March 2020 - sources

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By Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) – France is likely to delay its 5G spectrum auction at least until March 2020, three months later than the originally scheduled date, two sources close to the matter said.

The delay stems from disagreement between the French finance ministry and the telecoms authority, Arcep, over the exact size of the spectrum to be auctioned and over the auction floor price, said the sources, who have direct knowledge of the discussions.

Arcep and the ministry declined to comment.

“All positions haven’t yet converged between Arcep and the government,” one of the two sources said. “It shouldn’t take much more time now, but it’s when one gets into the final details of the procedure that difficulties emerge.”

The talks have postponed the legal process for granting the right to use 5G radio waves — — the raw material for wireless carriers to develop networks — by at least three months, sources said, from an initial schedule set for January.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Christian Lowe)