France rejects call to stop wireless auction

Bouygues Telecom has entered into exclusive negotiations with rival Free to sell its mobile phone network and portfolio of frequencies for “up to €1.8bn”

France’s Conseil d’Etat (Council of State) has rejected a bid by mobile operator Iliad to stop the government’s auction of 4G mobile licences.

The company had petitioned the court for an emergency injunction to halt the auction, ahead of its September 15 launch date, saying it was not fair to all telecom operators, according to Reuters.

The firm complained about the requirement for operators to pay upfront for licences, claiming that it favours larger companies such as France Telecom, because of their greater financial power. It wanted operators to be able to pay in instalments.

The court ruled that the auction will go ahead for now, but it will deliver a ruling on the merits of the case in the coming months, which could halt or alter the process.

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