Dow Jones Newswires reports that French telco Iliad (Free) yesterday submitted an application to the telecoms regulator Arcep for the country’s fourth 3G mobile network operating licence, ahead of today’s deadline. Iliad is likely to be the sole bidder for UMTS frequencies after other previously interested parties, including domestic companies Numericable, Virgin Mobile France and Bollore Group, as well as Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Holding, dropped out. Iliad, which plans to invest about EUR1 billion into building a mobile network, filed its bid under the brand Free Mobile. Iliad failed to meet financial conditions in a previous attempt to gain a 3G concession in 2007. Arcep said at the start of this week that in the case of a single bid it will make a decision on the licence award before the end of the year; otherwise the decision will be made in January 2010. Two blocks of additional frequencies will be auctioned in a second phase, open to all parties including the three existing 2G/3G network operators, Orange France, Bouygues and SFR.