[cellular news] Following the assignment of the fourth 3G licence to Free Mobile in January, the French telecoms regulator has noted that there remains a 5 MHz block of spectrum and a 4.8 MHz block of spectrum still available in the 2.1 GHz frequency band.
The application procedure for the allocation of this remaining spectrum was issued on 25 February 2010. Three applications were submitted on 11 May, by the companies Free Mobile, Orange France and SFR.
The terms of the selection process planned for the blocks to be allocated in two stages: first the award of the 5 MHz block followed by the award of the 4.8 MHz block.
The regulator, ARCEP has announced that it has now selected the best applications for each of the two blocks: the one submitted by SFR for the 5 MHz block and the one submitted by Orange France for the 4.8 MHz block.
For the 5 MHz block, SFR submitted a bid of EUR300 million, and chose commitment level 1 for hosting MVNOs. SFR also chose to position this block of spectrum between the frequencies operated by Free Mobile and those operated by Orange France.
For the remaining block of 4.8 MHz, Orange France submitted a bid of EUR282.1 million and also chose commitment level 1 for hosting MVNOs.
These two blocks have therefore been awarded for the total sum of EUR582.1 million which, when added to the EUR240 million that Free Mobile paid for its block of 5 MHz in January 2010, comes to a total of more than EUR820 million.
The two goals that had been set for the procedure were therefore achieved, namely to make significant improvements to the hosting conditions offered to MVNOs and to bring in substantial revenue for the State.
SFR and Orange Gain Additional French 3G Radio Spectrum