Guess we knew Iliad Group’s FREE Mobile will participate in the auction for France’s 4th 3G license. However, we didn’t knew they will end up as the only candidate for the spot. Earlier we heard Virgin Mobile may also jump on board and bid for the portion of spectrum.
Whatever the case is, the country’s telecoms regulator, ARCEP, confirmed that FREE is the only company that submitted bid for the license. Now they [ARCEP] have to examine the application to check that it meets the eligibility criteria. I’m guessing it does since Iliad’s previous bid for the license was rejected by the regulator in October 2007 — i.e. one would hope they did their homework this time.
Earlier it was suggested that if just one bidder emerges, ARCEP may award the license by the end of the year.
For the record, France has three 3G license holders – Orange, SFR and Bouygues Télécom which hold 47%, 36% and 17% of the market, respectively.