France investigates lack of WiMAX deployments

Two years after France's Regulatory Authority of Electronic Communications and Posts (ARCEP) awarded 44 WiMAX licenses in the 3.5 GHz band, the regulatory authority said it would investigate the deployment obligations of licensees since a national WiMAX network has yet to be launched. ARCEP said it would investigate the progress of license holders to confirm whether they are meeting their rollout requirements. The regulator said that if any company has not met its obligations, it could face suspension of its license, or a fine equal to 3 percent of its revenue.

ARCEP's announcement was reportedly spurred by announcements last week from the country's two largest WiMAX licensees. The Société Haut Débit (SHD), a subsidiary of GSM operator SFR and alternative telecoms provider Neuf Cegetel, announced a virtual network operator agreement with the regional broadband group Numéo in Ile-de-France (Paris and the center of France) and Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (Southern France, including Marseille, St Tropez, Cannes and Nice). The agreement will allow Numéo to bundle WiMAX services in regions where it cannot provide ADSL services.

Meanwhile, Bolloré Telecom announced it would acquire eight WiMAX licenses from the HDRR consortium controlled by TDF.

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Related stories:
Europe allows mobile WiMAX at 3.5 GHz. WiMAX story
WiMAX progress in France and Italy. WiMAX story