France to tender fourth 3G licence in first quarter

January 13, 2009 at 18:31 Leave a comment

French prime minister Francois Fillon has asked telecommunication regulator Arcep to open an application procedure for the country’s fourth 3G licence in the first quarter. The regulator will tender three lots of 5 MHz of spectrum in the 2.1 GHz band, one of which will be reserved for a new entrant. The spectrum is due to be allocated by the end of the year. Iliad’s fixed-line subsidiary, Free, is the only credible candidate. The company tried to win France’s fourth 3G licence in 2007, but sought to lower the EUR 619 million licence price. With the spectrum divided into three lots, Free will be able to pay less for less bandwidth. Free CEO Maxime Lombardini told Les Echos that 5 MHz would be enough to build a national network, whereas last autumn 10 MHz was considered a strict minimum. Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom will have to compete for the remaining two lots. Fillon also requested that Arcep launch a public consultation by the end of February on the conditions and methods for an application procedure for the 2.6 GHz band and the digital dividend sub-band, to be used for 4G mobile services. The government wants Arcep to begin the 4G licensing procedure by the end of 2009, so that very high speed mobile services can be launched commercially by 2012. Parliament is set to debate the government’s frequency attribution strategy in February.

Wireless Industry News



Entry filed under: 3G, France, Mobile, Mobile Network Operator, Telecom, Wireless. Tags: , , , , .

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