Sunday, September 28, 2008

France - fourth mobile operator?

France says to launch a new 3G licence tender

French telecoms regulator Arcep said on Monday that it planned to launch a new tender for the country's last remaining 3G high-speed mobile license, after an earlier one failed.

Last year, Arcep rejected as too low an offer from broadband provider Iliad, the only operator to bid for the license.

The tender, backed by the French government, is meant to increase competition in the French mobile market by allowing a new 3G operator to compete head on with incumbents Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom.

In March this year, the telecoms regulator said it would consult on the tender with market players and publish its conclusions by September 30.

Arcep on Monday rejected the possibility of splitting up the license into different frequency packages without giving priority to a new entrant.

"Therefore, we are looking at procedures that give a priority to all or part of the frequencies to a newcomer, following similar conditions that governed the previous tenders," Arcep said in a statement.

It did not say when the tender would actually be launched.

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