French 4G licences raise €3.5 billion

23 December 2011 | Guy Matthews

The Government of France said it has raised €3.5 billion from the auction of 4G mobile network licences, the country’s Energy Ministry has announced.

Cellcos Bouygues Telecom, Free Frequences, Orange France and SFR all made bids to telecommunications regulator Arcep for 4G licenses in the 800 megahertz frequency band earlier this month. All four have already been awarded 4G mobile licences in the 2.6 gigahertz band.

Bouygues Telecom is co-owned by industrial conglomerate Bouygues and advertising group JC Decaux Holdings. SFR is part of entertainment and communications group Vivendi. It looks though that it will be Free, owned by telecoms and internet company Iliad, that will be first to market with a 4G mobile offer early in Q1 2012.