Reacting to the forthcoming launch of Iliad as the fourth mobile operator in France, Bouygues Telecom has called a halt to the hiring of any new employees. The company's CEO, Olivier Roussat, said that he had frozen job vacancies since the tender offer for France's fourth 3G was launched.
Roussat claimed the company will be hit harder than France's bigger and more established mobile operators, France Telecoms' Orange and Vivendi's SFR, but would look to combat the threat by making an aggressive entry into the fixed-line market. Bouygues Telecom recently struck a deal with the French cable operator Numericable that will provide it with access to 3.3 million potential fibre optic clients.
Separately, Bouygues said it had selected Alcatel-Lucent to be its technology partner for a trial of LTE in the 1800 MHz spectrum band planned for early 2010 in Western France. Alca-Lu will be the only equipment supplier involved in the trial that will see it providing base stations (eNodeBs), Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and its associated management system. Alca-Lu confirmed it would also be providing Bouygues Telecom with a range of professional services including project management and planning, as well as installation, commissioning, integration and test plan execution services.
"This trial is another major step in the adoption of LTE technology in Europe, and more specifically in France," said Pierre Barnabé, head of Alca-Lu in France. The company said it was now engaged in 19 LTE trials around the world, but recently claimed it would reveal more LTE trials in the first quarter of 2010.
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