Only Free applies for fourth licence
Pascale Paoli Lebailly

Iliad Group, ISP Free’s mother company, is the only applicant for France’s fourth mobile telephony licence, as the call for bids came to its end last week.

Other potential competitors including Kertel, Numericable, Virgin Mobile, Bolloré and Egypt’s Orascom gave up before reaching the end of the process. All were discouraged by a licence fee reaching €240 million and the need to build a network whose cost is estimated to be €1 billion.

Alternative operator Iliad applied to telecom regulatory body Arcep with the brand name Free Mobile. The group expects to “boost the development of multimedia mobile and answer the consumers’ expectation for simpliest, less expensive and more innovative offers.”

Arcep’s decision should come before Christmas.