Feeds

French say encore to 3G auction

Gallic wariness knackers Jospin's pension windfall

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

The auction for 3G licences in France will have to be re-run after its one-fee plan for the four licences available collapsed. All but two of the bidders withdrew, turning the sale into a farce and heavily embarrassing the French government.

The French decided against the British and German 3G approach of a straight auction, preferring instead a flat-fee of £3.2 billion for each licence. Companies would have to enter a "beauty contest" to persuade the regulators why they should have it. Even though the price was less than we and the Germans ended up paying, recent reservations about 3G technology and the huge cost of investment needed for it has made mobile companies very wary.

Head of the government Lionel Jospin is particularly annoyed because he planned to use the £12.8 billion to prop up the country's shaky pension system.

Now the auction will have to be re-run and either the auction system changed or the licence price reduced. The only two bids put forward - from Orange (France Telecom) and SFR (Vodafone) - will still be assessed, said the finance minister Laurent Fabius, although it seems unlikely that they will be willing to pay a higher price if the cost is reduced so others take the remaining two licences.

The withdrawal from the auction started with Deutsche Telekom on 21 November. Then, days before the auction was to start (24 January), Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux and Telefónica decided it wasn't for them. Then, as soon as it started, Bouygues Telecom said the price was to high and wandered off as well.

There's irony in bundles here. By watching and waiting to see what happened elsewhere, the French government has actually slashed the income it could have expected. However, since companies in the French market will not have to pay the ludicrous prices of elsewhere in Europe, there is a very real possibility it may produce a far more effective and popular 3G network. We shall see.

The cost of the 15-year licences is to be paid in two parts: half this year and the other half over the next 13 years. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.