French to charge €206m for first 5MHz slot

French state secretary for industry Luc Chatel told the National Assembly that the first 5MHz lot to be allocated to the fourth mobile network operator would cost EUR 206 million.

Telecompaper says is one third of the €619 million paid by the country's existing mobile operators for their 15MHz of spectrum.

Free, the triple-play operator likely to become the country's fourth mobile network operator, was prepared to pay €210 million, CEO Xavier Niel told Le Figaro. Free may also bid for the remaining two lots of 5MHz of spectrum alongside its competitors in a second tender.

The first 5 MHz are due to be tendered at the end of February or early March, according to regulatory chairman Jean-Claude Mallet.

For Ovum's view on the French spectrum strategy, see devices to access the internet, and manufacturers are expected to start delivering devices for the Croatian market in the second semester this year. Vipnet also started to introduce HSUPA 5.7 technology, which offers data upload speeds almost four times higher than current levels.