France allocates LTE spectrum

French regulator Arcep has announced that all four of the country’s major operators have won licences to use its 2.6 GHz frequency band, which will be used in the deployment of LTE mobile networks.

Orange/France Telecom will be allocated a duplex frequency block of 20 MHz, for which it bid €287.12m ($385.87m), while Iliad’s Free Mobile will also be allocated the same, after bidding €271m.

Bouygues Telecom will be allocated a duplex frequency block of 15 MHz, for which the company bid €228m for, and all three operators have made a commitment to host MVNOs on their networks.

Société Française du Radiotéléphone (SFR) was also allocated a duplex frequency block of 15 MHz, after bidding €150m, although it did not make a commitment to host MVNOs on its network.

Arcep announced the results just a week after receiving bids and all of the LTE  frequencies that were available have now been allocated.

The allocation of these frequencies brought in a total of €936 million; €236 more than the reserve price of €700 million.

The allocation procedure for the 2.6 GHz band marks the first stage in the award of 4G licences. The second stage will consist of the allocation procedure for the 800 MHz band, resulting from the digital dividend, for which the deadline for applications is 15th December 2011.

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