The operator said that more focus was needed on delivering connectivity in rural areas before switching focus to 5G

French operator Bouygues Telecom has officially requested that the nation’s 5G auction be delayed by six months. 
The official request comes just a week after group CEO, Martin Bouygues, penned an article recommending that the process does not proceed until late 2020, or early 2021.
At the core of the company’s argument for a greater delay is the suggestion that there is still significant work to be done in improving the nation’s LTE coverage for underserved customers. 
Furthermore, Richard Viel, Bouygues Telecom CEO, has proposed that the ‘New Deal’ policies that the French government introduced in 2018 should be revised, with targets increased. The deal had seen each of the country’s four major operators agree to building 5,000 additional cell sites each, but Viel believes this should be increased by up to a third, in conjunction with network sharing.
France’s 5G auction, like so many others in Europe, has been forcibly delayed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Back in April, French regulator ARCEP said it would be delaying the final stages of the auction process, proposing either the second half of July or early September. Since then, no further timetable has been announced.
Many countries, such as China and recently South Korea, are positing rapid growth in 5G as a core element to their national economic recovery post-COVID-19. However, with 5G much less mature in France, this factor is much less significant, with Viel suggesting that an additional six month delay to the 5G auction would have little effect on the national economy.
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