Radio spectrum: it's the gift that keeps on giving - as far as national exchequers are concerned, as Martyn Warwick reports.
The French telecoms regulator, Arcep, has just sold four tranches of spectrum in the 2.6GHz spectrum range for just shy of a billion euros - well over the reserve price of € 700 million. It just goes to show that while the currency comes under ever-increasing pressure and recession bites harder and harder, some mobile operators are willing to spend big in anticipation of better times to come.
So Orange Frame has stumped-up €287.12 million for 20 MHz and Free Mobile has paid €271 million for another 20MHz.
Meanwhile, Bouygues Telecom has sprung €228.01 million for 15 MHz, and SFR has spent €150 million for a similar slice. As part of the deals, all four operators operators have made commitments to host MVNOs on their networks
With one successful sale under its belt, over the course of the next few months Arcep will begin to entertain bids from service providers for licences to offer 4G services with a data rate of a minimum of 60 Mbps over additional RF in the 800MHz band a slice of spectrum that has been freed-by the ending of France's old analogues TV services.
Applications for licences in the newly available spectrum must be submitted by December 15, with winners being announced in early January.
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