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3G Licenses Granted in French Overseas Departments

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The French telecoms regulator has awarded 3G licenses in the French Overseas Departments of La R union, the French Antilles and Guyana. The regulator said in a statement that it expects the first 3G networks to be launched by the end of this year and the operators are required to reach 70 percent coverage by 2013.

In La Runion, licenses were granted to Orange Runion, SFR and Outremer Telecom while Orange Caribbean and Outremer Telecom were granted licenses in French Antilles and Guyana.

The regulator also granted GSM licenses to Guadeloupe Tlphone Mobile, Guyane Tlphone Mobile and Martinique Tlphone Mobile.

The French Overseas department is a designation that was given to the French colonies of Guadeloupe, Martinique in the Caribbean, French Guiana in South America and Runion in the Indian Ocean. These overseas departments have the same political status as metropolitan departments and are integral parts of France, and the European Union. For that reason, it is the French regulator which manages telecoms in the departments.

According to figures from the Mobile World subscriber database, La Runion ended last year with some 874,600 subscribers, representing a population penetration level of nearly 109%. Martinique ended the year with 441,000 subscribers, Guadeloupe had 414,700 and finally, Guyana ended the year with 588,000 subscribers.

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