Will France Get A (Hopefuly More Agressive) Fourth 3G Operator?

Today I saw reports for example here and here that Illiad has brought forward the necessary papers to get the fourth and final batch of France’s 3G licenses in the 2.1GHz UMTS band before the deadline expired yesterday.

Illiad is the mother company of ADSL Internet provider "Free", certainly one of the most aggressive players in the French ADSL market. That gives me some hope that in case their bid is accepted and they are ready to go for it there might finally be reason for hope that competition could finally arrive in the French 3G market. Also, Free might have more of an Internet and IP angle than the local 3G incumbents so they might be more inclined to finally let customers use their network for Internet services for an attractive price rather than to let base stations sit around only producing hot air.

According to the report of Les Echos linked above the stock market was not quite happy to hear that Illiad has put their name in the hat. They see mobile as a risk rather than an opportunity. Short sighted bunch…

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