Trio vie for final French 3G spectrum

Three French companies have thrown their names into the hat to compete for the last of the nation's 3G spectrum, according to regulator Arcep.
 
Orange, Vivendi's SFR and Iliad's Free Mobile have each applied to take part in a new auction of the spectrum, WSJ.com said.
 
But only two blocks in the 2.1GHz band will be auctioned off, with the minimum price for each set at €120 million.
 
A decision will be made before the end of May.
 
Iliad was awarded France's fourth 3G mobile license in January.
 
Arcep had at first intended to hold the auction in February, but was forced to delay after SFR called for an investigation into the way spectrum blocks are allocated.
 
The carrier noted that one proposed block consists of just 4.8MHz of spectrum, which it said would result in technical problems utilizing it.
 
But the request was rejected last month after an appeals council upheld Arcep's decision that an expert investigation was not needed.

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