20 Jul 2015
French telecoms regulator Arcep has withdrawn frequencies allocated to three non-operational companies based in the French overseas departments, following their respective failures to comply with previously stated rollout obligations. Guadeloupe Telephone Mobile, Martinique Telephone Mobile and Guyane Telephone Mobile were each issued with spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands in 2008, which was to be used for the deployment of 2G and 3G networks in their respective markets. With the would-be operators having failed to meet the coverage obligations attached to the concessions (90% coverage by 2013, subsequently extended to full coverage by 15 January 2016, with interim deadlines of 15 January 2015 and 15 April 2015), on 19 May 2015 Arcep decided to proceed with sanctions.
According to a press release from the regulator, the three companies appealed to France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, to lobby for the sanctions to be halted. However, in an order dated 8 July 2015 the Conseil d’Etat relief judge rejected all three appeals.
TeleGeography notes that all three companies are owned by Curacao-based United Telecommunication Services (UTS), which has a presence in a number of Caribbean markets.