Shakeup looms after Free wins French 3G license

The French mobile industry is set for a shake-up after the issue of a fourth 3G license to Free, a subsidiary of the aggressive Groupe Iliad.

The decision was expected after rivals Virgin Mobile and Numericable dropped out of the bidding.
 
It pits Free against France Telecom’s Orange, Bouygues Telecom and Neuf-SFR in the 3G market.
 
The incumbent players, who had paid €619 million each for their 3G licences a decade ago, fought fiercely against the issue of the fourth franchise, arguing they were being unfairly treated FT.com noted
 
Free will pay €240 million, although for a smaller slice of spectrum. Regulator Arcep had rejected Iliad’s bid two years ago,
 
Free has become France’s second largest ISP by offering triple-play bundled voice, data and internet TV services for less than €30 ($43) a month.
 
Iliad chief Xavier Niel has promised to halve fees for French mobile consumers.
 
The new operator will receive its license in January and will have two years to build its network. Its service is due to start at the beginning of 2012 and it is expected to cover 75% of the population in 2015 and 90% in 2018.

 

Suggested Articles

Wireless operators can provide 5G services with spectrum bands both above and below 6 GHz—but that doesn't mean that all countries will let them.

Here are the stories we’re tracking today.

The 5G Mobile Network Architecture research project will implement two 5G use cases in real-world test beds.