France to break up fourth 3G mobile licence
France has decided to break up a planned fourth licence for 3G mobile telecommunication services into three lots of 5 megahertz, with one reserved for a new operator, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Monday.
He added that the new frequencies would be allotted before the summer. A government official said the tender would be launched in February.
France has three 3G licences, operated by France Telecom's (FTE.PA) Orange, Vivendi's (VIV.PA) SFR and Bouygues Telecom (BOUY.PA).
Iliad (ILD.PA) had bid for the fourth licence in 2007 but the state rejected the proposal. The company said subsequently that it remained interested in becoming a mobile phone operator.
Iliad, which runs ADSL services under the Free brand, said on Monday it had no further comment at this stage.