Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brussels approves the fourth mobile phone license

The European Commission approved on Tuesday, the award in France for a fourth mobile license broadband (3G) for Internet access provider Free [whose founder Xavier Niel is a shareholder group's Tech Buzz News ], rejecting complaints from competitors who accused him of having received illegal state aid.

"The Commission dismissed the complaints of three mobile telephone operators currently active on the French market," she said in a statement. "The process of awarding in 2009 of a fourth 3G mobile license in France did not involve state aid under EU rules," said the Commission, as guardian of competition in Europe .

"This award took place in a transparent and open" and "led to a competitive outcome," she added. Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom to the French government criticized the price (240 million) which it had sold its license to Free. Themselves had in fact paid 619 million euros in the early 2000s, a difference that they believe it distorts competition.

The first two licenses were awarded to Orange and SFR, had even been charged initially to 4.95 billion euros, but both operators had subsequently obtained that this price is lowered to align with that paid by Bouygues.

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