French mobile operator Orange on Thursday activated its first LTE coverage area in the city of Marseille, promising connectivity speeds of up to 150Mbps. The operator said Lyon and Nantes will also 4G coverage by the end of the year, followed by 12 other cities by summer 2013.
French operator Bouygues Telecom has revealed it will switch on its LTE network in the next few weeks. The firm will use its 2.6GHz spectrum to deploy the service across eight cities CEO Olivier Roussat told local press.
French incumbent Orange has begun offering NFC-enabled SIM cards nationwide in preparation for what it calls the “mass deployment” of mobile contactless services. The UpTeq NFC SIM cards are supplied by Gemalto and, the firms said, are the first SIMs on the market to offer the same security level as chip-based payment or smart cards.
French low-cost 3G operator Free has managed to acquire nearly four per cent of the country’s market share in just 80 days.
Orange France’s VP of wholesale, Brigitte Bourgoin, has sent a letter to Iliad CEO Maxime Lombardini complaining of the strain that its subsidiary Free Mobile is putting on its network.
French regulator Arcep has announced that all four of the country’s major operators have won licences to use its 2.6 GHz frequency band, which will be used in the deployment of LTE mobile networks. Orange/France Telecom will be allocated a duplex frequency block of 20 MHz, for which it bid €287.12m, while Iliad’s Free Mobile will also be allocated the same, after bidding €271m.
France’s Conseil d’Etat (Council of State)has rejected a bid by mobile operator Iliad to stop the government’s auction of 4G mobile licences. The company had petitioned the court for an emergency injunction to halt the auction, ahead of its September 15 launch date, saying it was not fair to all telecom operators.
The number of broadband subscribers in France had reached 21.774 million by the end of the first quarter of 2011, up slightly from 20.234 million one year previously, according to the latest market report from the country’s telecoms regulatory body Arcep.
The French auction for LTE spectrum is now imminent after French digital economy minister Éric Besson signed a decree launching the tender for operators to submit their bids, The process will begin in the coming days, French newspaper Le Monde reported, once the announcement is published in an official gazette. Operators will have until September to submit their bids.
France Telecom (FT) has announced a two-phased strategic and financial plan for 2011-2015 which the company is calling “adapt to conquer.” Announced at the telco’s Investor Day on Tuesday, the strategy, which is part of the group’s ongoing “Conquests” programme, will focus on investment and cost reduction to improve cash flow and growth at the company.
The future for fast internet in rural areas in France has received a boost with the announcement by the Éric Besson, Minister of Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy, that mobile operators would be able to acquire two blocks of 15MHz channels in the 800MHz band. One would be used for download and the other dedicated to upload.
France and Spain are to be taken to court by the EU over telecoms taxes. According to reports from Reuters, the EU executive will take legal action over taxes imposed on telecoms companies aimed at compensating for the end of advertising on public television stations. An unnamed source has said that such taxes are deemed to be incompatible with EU telecoms rules, which require specific charges on telecoms operators to be directly related to meeting the costs of regulating the telecoms sector.
French carriers Orange, SFR and Bouygues have joined forces with IT services firm Atos Origin to form a new joint venture dedicated to exploring a mobile payments initiative.
Orange Business Services has acquired Alsy, a French company integrating Microsoft communications solutions. This acquisition further enhances the offering of Orange Business Services in the full range of Microsoft technologies, by rounding out the agreement signed with Microsoft in 2009 to distribute the standard Microsoft Online Services offer in 21 countries.
French carrier SFR has tapped HP to build it a complete cloud services platform designed to enable the service provider to offer cloud-based services with utility-based pricing to French companies.