France is preparing to make room on the market for a new mobile operator. Today there are three companies exploring the mobile business in the country, but soon the idea is that there is one more.
Luc Chatel, Secretary of State for Industry, has now revealed that to enter the mobile market the new operator will have to pay 206 million euros, a figure that is well below the amount paid for the remaining 3G licenses distributed in times of euphoria and high expectations around the third mobile generation.
Orange, SFR and Bouygues had to pay more than 600 million euros each to enter UMTS, three times more than the amount now requested for the allocation of the 4th license.
The new mobile license will be delivered to the competitor who submits the best coverage proposal for French territory. It is necessary to have a plan to expand the network quickly and contemplate rural areas, argues the government. So far only one company has publicly expressed an interest in competing.
Studies indicate that the entry of a new mobile operator in the French market may increase the market by 7 percent and lower prices by the same magnitude.
The fourth French mobile operator will start operating in 2012.