Iliad talks down auction price of additional 3G frequencies

Having been the only bidder for the fourth and final 3G licence in France, Iliad has provoked further anger from the established operators by stating that it was keen to acquire more wireless spectrum, including 3G frequencies.

However, the company has said that the sale price of €200 million suggested by France Telecom for the extra frequencies was unrealistic, and would prefer a much lower number of around €50 million. "We are interested in the new frequencies, but not at any price," said Maxime Lombardini, CEO of Iliad.

A decision on the sale of the additional 3G frequencies is expected in before this summer after which the French regulator, Arcep, will move on to the award of 4G spectrum.

Separately, Iliad said that it was gearing up for the national rollout of its new 3G network and was currently in negotiation with four equipment vendors--Alcatel-Lucent, NSN, Ericsson and Huawei--to select a network partner.

Lombardini said that Iliad would choose one or more in the next few weeks. "The vendors are offering us some interesting financing offers," he said. "The discussions are quite advanced."

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Only one bidder for 4th French 3G licence