France launches bid process for fourth mobile network

1st August 2009, Comments 0 comments

The French government on Saturday launched the bidding process for the license for a fourth national mobile network and confirmed the asking price of EUR 240 million (USD 330 million) in the government gazette.

Paris - The French government on Saturday launched the bidding process for the license for a fourth national mobile network and confirmed the asking price of EUR 240 million (USD 330 million) in the government gazette.

France Telecom (Orange), immediately said it would contest the price with the European Commission.

The price is only around a third of the EUR 619 million which Orange and fellow operators Bouygues Telecom and SFR paid in the early years of this decade.

The deadline for candidates to lodge their bids has been fixed at October 29, with the granting of the license around eight months from that date.

It had been expected the bidding process would be launched before the end of July.

"France Telecom is going to complain to the European Commission about state aid, that is the advantage being granted to the fourth operator compared to the other three holders of mobile network operating licenses," a spokesman for France Telecom told AFP.

Earlier Saturday Iliad, the parent company of French Internet service provider Free, welcomed the launch of the bidding process and said it would be a candidate.

AFP / Expatica

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