Not content with making life miserable for the three incumbent operators in France, French telco Iliad has put in a surprise bid for T-Mobile US. It had been assumed acquisition of T-Mobile US by rival operator Sprint was a foregone conclusion, so Iliad’s 11th hour intervention will potentially ruffle a lot of feathers.
Iliad has ceased its pursuit of T-Mobile US after its second bid to acquire the business was rejected by owner Deutsche Telekom and some TMUS board members. This marks the end of a four-month project for Iliad trying to enter the US market.
The quarterly earnings season has provided a timely boost to the T-Mobile US acquisition saga. Apparently scared off by US regulators, Sprint ended its long courtship of DT’s US operation earlier this week, just after France’s Iliad had put in a surprise bid of its own.
International operator group Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) has announced it will divest its 55 per cent stake in Monaco’s sole mobile operator for €321.79m to a private investment firm controlled by the founder and majority shareholder of France’s newest mobile operator Free Mobile, Xavier Niel.
French operator Bouygues Telecom has extended its offer to acquire rival SFR by 17 days in a bid to prevent the company being sold to cable operator Altice.
French operator Bouygues Telecom is not admitting defeat in its pursuit to acquire rival SFR, having again increased the cash part of its offer to parent group Vivendi. The offer now stands at €13.15bn.
French mobile operator Bouygues Telecom has announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with rival Free, owned by parent company Iliad, to sell its mobile phone network and portfolio of frequencies for “up to €1.8bn”.
French operators Bouyges Telecom and SFR have agreed to roll out a shared network covering 57 per cent of the French population. The operators will create a joint venture to manage the shared base station assets and a RAN share covering 2G, 3G and LTE services in the area covered by the network.
French operator Iliad has seen its full-year profit decline by more than a quarter in 2012. The firm posted profit of €186.5m, down from €251.8m in 2011, despite revenues increasing almost 50 per cent.
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 said that it has awarded 4G licences in the 800Mhz band to the incumbent operators Bouygues, Orange and SFR. Fourth applicant Free Mobile, owned by Iliad, was not successful. All four operators were previously awarded 4G licences at 2.6GHz.
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.
French telecoms regulator ARCEP has said that the country’s LTE spectrum auction will be launched before May this year. The terms of the sale, which is expected to raise €2bn, are expected to be finalised shortly and ARCEP has said that it wants to award the spectrum before the end of this year.