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French telecom regulator Arcep has awarded 3G/4G licenses in the French overseas markets of French Guiana, Reunion, Mayotte, Gualeloupe-Martinique and St Barthelemy-St Martin.
In May, Arcep received 25 bids for 3G and 4G LTE unassigned spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands that remains unassigned in these overseas markets, along with spectrum still available in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2.1GHz bands.
Arcep decided not to allocate the spectrum through an auction, but opted instead to assign scores to applicants based on five non-financial selection criteria: the project's consistency and feasibility; consistency and feasibility of the business plan; regional digital development considerations; contribution to stimulating the market; and job creation and investment.
Paris-based Iliad confirmed in a press release that it had been granted spectrum in Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Reunion Island, Martinique, Mayotte, Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin.
The company received an 800 MHz license in four of the five overseas markets, while receiving spectrum in the other available frequencies in French Guiana (1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz and 900 MHz).
The Océinde Group's ZEOP Mobile obtained a license for Réunion. All territories now have four operators each.
Iliad said it plans to invest around 100mn euros (US$110mn) in rolling out network infrastructure and will be launching 4G in Reunion Island and Mayotte in the coming months – and start rolling out its network in the other territories in the short term.
"The group will put an end to the totally unjustifiable price discriminations that currently exist between the French overseas departments and Metropolitan France," said Iliad.