Orange and SFR gain approval for spectrum

France's telecoms regulator has authorised Orange and SFR to start using their 1,800 megahertz bands for 4G from 2016.

In exchange both companies are required to give up a portion of their spectrum to smaller rival Free Mobile to ensure fair competition.

The decision follows an earlier decision by the regulator to allow Bouygues Telecom to refarm its 1,800MHz allocation for LTE in 2013. In addition the operator gave up part of its spectrum, which went to Free Mobile earlier this year.

The regulator aims to assign the country’s largest operators – Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom – 20MHz each by May 2016, while smaller operator Free Mobile will have 15MHz.