3G Spectrum, Anyone?

12:15 PM -- France has an extra 3G license that the government just doesn't know what to do with. Iliad (Euronext: ILD) would like to have it to become the country's fourth mobile operator, but it was not prepared to meet the government's asking price in an auction late last year. (See No 3G License for Free, Iliad Applies for License, and ARCEP Invites 3G Bids.)

Now reports are circulating that the government has given up on trying to sell the license and may split it up into three spectrum blocks. These would be auctioned or given away in a kind of beauty contest where price isn't the only consideration, according to a Reuters report. France Telecom CEO Didier Lombard has reportedly chimed in to the debate to say that a fourth mobile operator in France would not be "rational." Orange France , SFR , and Bouygues Telecom must be hoping that the government simply distributes the new blocks of spectrum to them.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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