State Council rejects request to rescind Free’s 3G licence

13 Oct 2010

According to the French telecoms regulator Arcep the country’s highest legal advisory body, the State Council, yesterday validated the award of the fourth 3G mobile operating licence to Iliad’s Free Mobile unit. The newcomer bid USD360.6 million for the concession last year and received the thumbs up from Arcep on 18 December, before going on to secure the licence formally in January 2010. However France Telecom (Orange), SFR and Bouygues Telecom subsequently claimed the deal was flawed and initiated a legal challenge. ‘The State Council … had received several requests to rescind the award procedure for the fourth third-generation (3G) mobile telephony licence … The Council has confirmed that it took place in accordance with the principles of transparency and objectivity, and that the terms of the spectrum licence issued to Free Mobile in no way discriminated against the three existing mobile operators,’ Arcep said in its statement. The watchdog went on to say that the Council found the value of the Free Mobile application was ‘not discriminatory compared to the USD857.2 million paid by the three incumbent cellcos in 2001/02.’

France, Iliad (Free)