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French Overseas Territories to get 3G Licenses

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France's telecoms regulator, ARCEP has announced plans to award 3G licenses in the French Overseas d partements and collectivities. The affected areas are Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyana, the cities of Saint Martin and Saint Barth lemy, R union, Mayotte and Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Because of their new status as territorial units since 9th July 2007, Saint Martin and Saint Barth lemy are considered separately from Guadeloupe.

A consultation held last year by the regulator confirmed the relevance of attributing authorisations through a first-come-first-served process, it showed that attributing a first 5-MHz carrier would appear to be sufficient to launch a 3G commercial activity, and also showed strong demand from network operators to fill frequency assignments.

The band opening concerns both parts of the 2.1 GHz frequency band which had been designated at the international level for third-generation mobile systems. One, corresponding to two paired 60 MHz duplex sub-bands (1920 - 1980 and 2110 - 2170 MHz), is used by systems in FDD mode, and the other sub-band (1900 - 1920 MHz) is used by systems in TDD mode.

For each player's first request, ARCEP plans to assign a single 5 MHz carrier. Each player will initially be required to cover 30% of the population and commercially launch voice and data services within two years of receiving its authorisation. Plus, players must commit to a population coverage threshold within five years of receiving their authorisation. This threshold may not be less than 70%. These two obligations affect each authorised collectivity and the FDD and TDD bands separately.

Should certain players make subsequent frequency requests, ARCEP will deal with them on a case-by-case basis. In order to appreciate the proper use of frequencies, ARCEP will take into account the quantity of 900/1800 MHz and 2.1 GHz frequencies already assigned to the applicant, the efficiency of the technology used, the services offered, the number of 3G customers and the volume of 3G voice and data traffic. Before examining the application, ARCEP will ensure that the applicant is up to date in respecting its deployment obligations and in the payment of taxes and fees.

Another review will be performed in 2011.

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Tags: 3g license  arcep  3g licenses  tdd  taxes  Martinique  Guadeloupe  Guyana  Reunion