France's 3G license auction attracts fresh disputes

France’s upcoming 3G license auction continues to attract the ire of the industry with two of France's three mobile operators filing formal complaints against the regulator.
Vivendi and Bouygues Telecom have filed complaints with France's highest administrative court, the Conseil d'Etat over the reserve price set for the license.
The regulator has settled on a reserve price of €240 million, less than half of the €619 million paid by the current carriers for their 3G licences. The regulator argues that the fourth license is for a smaller chunk of radio spectrum and is being offered in a market with three dominant and established 3G network operators.
The carrier’s complaints comes just days before the October 29 deadline fixed by regulator ARCEP for accepting applications for a fourth license.
France Telecom has also threatened to complain to the European Commission.
Meanwhile, Virgin Mobile France will hold a press conference today regarding its intention to bid for the license. To date Iliad, the parent company of ISP Free, is the only confirmed candidate for the auction.