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French panel recommends higher fourth mobile licence price

17 июня 2009

A French advisory panel has recommended that a higher price be sought for the country's fourth mobile license, a French industry and consumption junior ministry's spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

The recommended price is EUR240 million compared to an initial price of EUR206 million, the spokesperson said, adding the government should make an announcement "in a few days."

French Internet provider Iliad is currently the only company in France to have clearly stated an interest in the frequencies - 5 megahertz from the 2.1 gigahertz band and 5 from the 900 megahertz band - and previously said it is willing to pay up to EUR210 million for the license.

An Iliad spokeswoman Tuesday declined to comment on the announcement.

The government early this year decided to allot the frequencies originally set aside for the country's fourth mobile license in three separate blocks, with the first set reserved for a new entrant, because previous attempts to allocate all the frequencies under one license for EUR619 million had proved unsuccessful.

France Telecom Tuesday told Dow Jones Newswires it would go to court if the suggested price of EUR240 million is confirmed, in order to contest what it described as "an unequal treatment between operators."

The three established network operators in France, France Telecom SA's Orange, Vivendi SA's SFR, and Bouygues SA's Bouygues Telecom each paid EUR619 million for their licenses back in 2001 and 2002.

They previously expressed their discontent with the lower price the government set for a fourth entrant to the market.

Bouygues Telecom and SFR declined to comment on the new price tag.

France's junior minister for industry and consumer affairs, Luc Chatel also said the bidding process for the fourth license would be launched before the end of July, the spokeswoman confirmed.

He will consult telecoms regulators and other sector stakeholders over the coming days before making an announcement, the spokeswoman also said.

Luc Chatel in May said the government expects to launch the process to allocate frequencies for the country's fourth mobile-phone license by the end of the summer, while previously he said the tender offer should be launched before the summer.


Источник: Total Telecom

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