It looks increasingly like competition in the French mobile sector will increase with the introduction of a new 3G licensee, according to French authorities Monday.

At a press conference at Matignon Monday morning, French prime minister, Francois Fillon, said that the proposed fourth 3G licence will now be split into three 5MHz lots, with one lot reserved for a new entrant.

The other swathes of 2.1GHz spectrum will be available to other interested parties including the existing operators: Orange, SFR and Bouygues.

The spectrum is expected to be allocated before the summer.

Communications regulator ARCEP will also launch a public consultation by the end of February on the conditions and methods for an application procedure for both the 2.6GHz band and the digital dividend sub-band for 4G services.