Iliad’s financial plan is its Achilles’ heel: Arcep denies 3G bid

10 Oct 2007

The French telecoms regulator Arcep has rejected a bid by domestic ISP Iliad (Free), though its mobile unit Free Mobile, for a licence to offer 3G services in France. In a statement underlining decision no. 2007-0862, adopted yesterday, the watchdog said ‘the candidature of Free Mobile cannot be retained under the financial conditions currently defined in the law’.

Iliad was the sole bidder for the country’s fourth UMTS concession when the deadline closed at midday, 31 July. At that date, Iliad set a condition on its application saying it believed the success of the fourth mobile operator was dependent on the winner being allowed to make a deferred annual payment of the licence fee instead of an up front one-off payment of EUR619 million. ‘Iliad believes that a single payment of the rental charge represents a barrier to entering the market,’ the company said. The operator is also calling for access to the 900MHz bands alongside 2.15GHz frequencies, and applauds the decision to allocate the winner 5MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz band from end-2009.

France, Arcep, Iliad (Free)