France pockets 936 mn euros in 4G frequency auction
France took in 936 million euros ($1.3 billion) from the auction of frequencies to build fourth-generation mobile telephone networks, telecommunications regulator Arcep said on Thursday.
France's four network operators Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Free took the 14 lots on offer in the 2.6 gigahertz range, which are primarily for use in urban areas.
The French state had set a minimum price of 700 million euros.
Bids for the 800 megahertz frequencies, more adapted for use in rural regions but carrying a higher minumum price tag of 1.8 billion euros, close on December 15 with licenses to be awarded in early 2012.
Operators are keen to roll out fourth generation mobile networks to keep up with the explosion of Internet-capable smartphones as they offer transfer speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, as fast as home fibre optic connections.
Current third generation mobile networks offer speeds of only several megabits.
© 2011 AFP