French operators trigger legal action over fourth 3G licence

Having complained loudly from the sidelines, Bouygues Telecom has become the first French mobile operator to step forward and issue a legal challenge to how the country's fourth 3G licence is being sold. The company has filed complaints just days before the 29th October deadline for the filing of licence applications with the national regulator Arcep.

A Bouygues Telecom spokesman stated: "We have filed two complaints to contest the legality of the decree which fixed the price and the decree which launched the tender offer for the licence under the conditions set by Arcep."

Vivendi, the major shareholder in SFR, and France Telecom Orange have both stated their intentions to submit separate complaints to the European Commission about the €240 million price being asked for the 3G mobile licence.

The issue revolves around the current asking price of €240 million against the €619 million that the three 3G operators originally paid for their licences, with the complaint that the French government would effectively be providing state aid to the fourth operator relative to the other three licence holders.

So far, the ISP Iliad is the only confirmed candidate, although other late bids are expected.

For more on this story:
Total Telecom

Related stories:
New French 3G licence gets ugly--operators complain to EU
French president gets involved with fourth 3G licence
Iliad's campaign for French 3G licence heats up
Virgin Mobile France and Numericable discuss joint bid for French 3G licence

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