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France begins fourth 3G tender

French telecoms regulator ARCEP on Thursday launched the tender process for the country’s fourth 3G licence.

Interested parties have 20 weeks to submit a bid for the licence, with the reserve price for the spectrum set at Eur619.2m.

ARCEP has previously said that a number of players have expressed interest in the assignment of the fourth 3G licence.

The regulator is in the process of mandating 3G in the 900MHz spectrum and France is spearheading the move to prepare ways of reusing the 900 and 1800MHz frequencies, currently occupied by 2G services, for 3G, to extend the coverage of third generation mobile networks beyond the current deployments in the 2GHz band.

The regulator is now determining whether three or four operators must be considered in the sharing plan of the 900 and 1800MHz bands to be reused for 3G as the assignment of a fourth 3G licence would bring about a major change in market by intensifying competition.

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