Arcep to sell off remaining UMTS frequencies

29 Jan 2010

France is looking to sell off the two remaining frequencies left to be allocated for the fourth 3G wireless licence for EUR120 million (USD168 million) – the same amount Iliad (Free) recently paid for Free Mobile’s 3G operating licence. A report in La Tribune newspaper says the price it reached is based on economic analysis provided by HSBC bank, although the paper notes that the final price will actually be determined by the regulator Arcep, and not the government. The fourth and final 3G licence is divided into three operating blocks, one for a new market entrant (Iliad), and the other two open for any of the incumbent cellcos – i.e. Orange France, SFR and Bouygues Telecom. A decision on the 3G spectrum is expected in H1 2010, with Arcep then scheduled to commence the auction of 4G spectrum. A communications committee will give its opinion on the matter on 5 February, La Tribune said. For its part, Iliad is on record as saying it would be keen to bid for the additional frequencies on offer.

France, Arcep, Iliad (Free)