Fresh from its success in securing the country’s fourth and final mobile operating licence, French telecoms operator Iliad (Free) says it is interested in acquiring more wireless spectrum, including 3G frequencies. The French regulator Arcep plans to allot additional frequencies later this year and is in the throes of compiling bidding rules for 3G spectrum as part of this process. France Telecom is reportedly keen to see spectrum sold for EUR200 million, while Iliad prefers a lower, EUR50 million figure. Reuters cites Iliad chief executive Maxime Lombardini as saying ‘We are interested in the new frequencies, but not at any price’. A decision on the sale of 3G frequencies is expected in H1 2010 after which Arcep will move on to the award of 4G spectrum.
Iliad, which offers triple-play fixed line services across the country, is gearing up for the national rollout of its new mobile network and is currently in negotiation with four equipment vendors – Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson and Huawei – to select a network partner. A decision is expected in the next few weeks.