Free joins FT-Orange against Bouygues’s 4G authorisation

13 Jun 2013

France’s Conseil d’Etat (State Council) has confirmed that Free Mobile filed an interlocutory appeal against regulator the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes’ (Arcep’s) decision to grant permission to rival Bouygues Telecom to use its 1800MHz frequency band (initially authorised for 2G usage) for 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE), newspaper Le Figaro reported. As reported previously by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, France’s largest telco in terms of subscribers France Telecom-Orange filed an appeal against the watchdog’s decision on the same grounds earlier this week. If the State Council decides to act on both appeals, Bouygues can reportedly lose Arcep’s authorisation to use its assigned frequency for 4G LTE deployment, Le Figaro stated.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the four mobile operators – FT-Orange, SFR, Free and Bouygues – paid a total of EUR3.57 billion (USD4.71 billion) for the allocation of 800MHz/2600MHz spectrums for 4G LTE services at end-2011. However, FT-Orange denounced the 4G tender for a lack of transparency, as the operators were not informed at the time that the watchdog was also planning to authorise the 1800MHz frequency band for 4G use in 2013.