Victorin Lurel, the French Minister of Overseas, and Fleur Pellerin, Minister for the Digital Economy, have revealed that plans are underway for the introduction of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) licences in the French overseas departments (departement d’outre-mer [DOM]). Further, the government expects to sell LTE concessions directly to interested parties through a process managed by telecoms watchdog Arcep. The government believes that it can raise as much as EUR3 billion (USD3.9 billion) through the sale of LTE licences, and suggests that all proceeds will be channelled into the construction of high speed fixed broadband networks across the DOM territories, a project that will require a further EUR20 billion in private funding.
French DOMs currently include: Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Reunion (all since 1946) and Mayotte (since 2011). In addition, the following countries are classified as ‘overseas collectivities’: French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy. Victorin Lurel, the man spearheading the project, served as the President of the Regional Council of Guadeloupe from 2004 until 2012, prior to joining French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s cabinet.