Arcep awards French 800MHz 4G spectrum

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”

French regulator Arcep has said that it has awarded 4G licences in the 800Mhz band to the incumbent operators Bouygues, Orange and SFR. Fourth applicant Free Mobile, owned by Iliad, was not successful. All four operators were previously awarded 4G licences at 2.6GHz.

This latest auction raised €2.64bn for the French state. Bouygues paid €683bn for block A while Orange paid €891m for block D. SFR picked up blocks B and C for €1.07bn, but will be required to offer access to Free Mobile once Free’s 2.6GHz network reaches 25 per cent population coverage.

Meanwhile Dutch incumbent KPN has sold its French MVNO Simyo to Bouygues for an undisclosed sum. Simyo provides service to 180,000 customers and the two firms said that service would not be affected. The deal is expected to close before 2012.

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