11 Oct 2013
US technology giant Apple has confirmed that its sought-after iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c devices will both be made available in a number French overseas territories from 25 October. Reunion, which is situated in the Indian Ocean, and the ‘French West Indies’ – which nominally includes Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy – will all see the handset introduced later this month, as part of a larger worldwide push by the handset vendor. Around 30 markets, such as Italy, Russia, Spain will receive the handset from 25 October, while a dozen more markets, including India and Mexico, will follow suit on 1 November.
Although Long Term Evolution (LTE) is not yet commercially available in any of the French overseas territories, plans to auction 4G-suitable spectrum are well underway. In June 2013 Victorin Lurel, the French Minister of Overseas, and Fleur Pellerin, Minister for the Digital Economy, revealed that the government expects to sell LTE concessions directly to interested parties through a process managed by Arcep. The government believes that it can raise as much as EUR3 billion (USD4.1 billion) through the sale of LTE licences, and suggested that all proceeds will be channelled into the construction of high speed fixed broadband networks across the overseas territories.