The three successful applicants, which have been busy formulating their LTE plans, will pay varying amonts for their licenses, which will be awarded in January. Bouygues is paying €683 million (US$893 million), Orange France is paying €891 million (US$1.16 billion) and SFR is shelling out €1.065 billion (US$1.39 billion). (See SFR Does LTE With NSN in Marseille and France Telecom Updates on LTE, FTTH.)
Mobile newcomer Iliad (Euronext: ILD) (better known by its Free brand) was the only unsuccessful bidder, but it has been given the go-ahead to strike a roaming agreement with SFR once its own mobile network covers 25 percent of the French population.
While it was unsuccessful this time around, Iliad's Free Mobile operation was awarded some LTE spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band earlier this year. (See Arcep Awards 4G Spectrum and Euronews: Ericsson Camps on NSN's Turf.)
FT had been seeking a buyer for Orange Switzerland since July. (See FT Looks to Sell Swiss Biz.)
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading