UMTS: the allocation of licenses in France was thrown back into question
Another thunderbolt on future mobile telephony: according to Le Monde, the ART (Telecommunications Regulation Authority) would cancel the call for tenders in progress.
The ART (Telecommunications Regulation Authority) could cancel the call for tenders in progress for the allocation of licenses in mobile telephony, Le Monde announces in its edition published on Friday afternoon May 18th. For four networks to provide, only France Telecom and Cégétel are currently in the running after the withdrawal of Bouygues Telecom and Suez, afraid by the enormous amounts required (4.95 billion euros for a licence).Less than two weeks before what should have been only a formality (UTMS licenses should be allocated on May 31st at 11.00 AM), another scenario is arising, explains the daily paper in its article "Turbulences in the sector of mobile telephony". The ART, which thinks that the government has forced them, trying to get the maximum like in Great Britain or Germany and would study the possibility to cancel the procedure, according to the newspaper.Several elements are encouraging the Regulation Authority in this way: from now on, the procedure is affected of many irregularities; technological problems delay the opening of networks planned for January 1st 2002; the financial atmosphere which was valid a year ago in the telecommunications was completely disrupted. This possible withdrawal from the procedure of allocation in progress, if it was confirmed might entail a conflict with the Finance minister. Who would finance the pension funds whereas the transfer of the four licenses was supposed to provide largely a reserve of pension funds?