Telecoms operators Orange, SFR Group, Bouygues Telecom and Iliadbought pricey permits to become the first users of frequencies to transport voice and data services in France.
But 5G, which will rely on frequencies that are not yet formally granted, could speed up data transfer to such an extent that it could allow a broader use of the radio spectrum.
"We should avoid a hasty allocation (of the frequencies), as we don't know what the exact use of 5G will be," Arcep chairman Sebastien Soriano told Reuters on Tuesday.
The new technology, whose standards are still being discussed globally, is expected to generate peak speeds in 2025 that are more than 30 times higher than the ones recorded in 2015, according to a 2016 report by the European Commission.
Key to Internet of Things
5G is seen as a potential driver for the growth for autonomous vehicles, which rely on connected sensors to drive on roads and Soriano says it will apply from companies involved in everything from infrastructure to manufacturers.
It could also boost the "Internet of things" (IoT), which describes a wide range of objects that are connected to the Internet and can collect and exchange data to perform functions such as controlling the heating at home, managing maintenance in factories or monitoring energy consumption.
The two bandwidths that have not yet been allocated are the 3.4-3.8 gigahertz and the 26 gigahertz ones.
Arcep is now giving temporary permission for both to "any interested player" with the aim of gathering relevant information from this test phase.
Under a 2016 plan, the European Union wants to deploy 5G for all urban areas and major terrestrial roads by 2025.
But analysts at Citi say the EU lags the United States and Asian countries like Japan, Singapore and South Korea on 5G because of tight regulation and a lack of investment.
© Thomson Reuters 2018