French telecoms regulator Arcep may announce its decision on the winner of the country’s fourth and final 3G licence before Christmas, should no more candidates emerge for the concession. The president of the independent regulator Jean-Ludovic Silicani told Le Monde newspaper it could make its decision if there is only one candidate for the licence. ‘If we have only one dossier to examine, a decision will be taken before Christmas. Otherwise, [a decision will be taken] at the start of 2010,’ he said.
The French government launched a tender offer for the mobile licence frequencies in August this year and set the deadline for bid applications at 29 October 2009, with the award of the licence expected to follow around eight months from that date. At the time Arcep said it would review the applications based on nine criteria, the terms and conditions of which will be identical to those of previous calls for applications: the winner should cover 25% of the population after two years and 80% after eight. Iliad, the parent company of French internet service provider Free, is the only company to have confirmed its bid for the licence.