Free Mobile awarded 15MHz frequency

News

France’s Free Mobile has been awarded additional spectrum by the country’s telecoms regulator.

The Autorité de Régulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (ARCEP) has awarded the operator an additional 10MHz in the 1800MHz band, adding to its pre-existing 5MHz holding.

From May next year, the Iliad-owned telco will hold 15MHz duplex in France’s highly pressurised mobile marketplace.

ARCEP said the decision is the result of terms laid out in April 2013 and July this year for the re-farming of 4G spectrum from Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR so that some of it can be relinquished to Free Mobile.

Bouygues, Orange and SFR will each hold 20MHz following the changes.

The regulator’s decision will come as a major kick in the teeth for Bouygues and fellow Free rivals, who have experienced significant blows to their sales since the low-cost operator entered the market in 2012.

France’s mobile marketplace has undergone significant turbulence following Free’s arrival, with Bouygues experiencing ongoing losses and Orange having only just returned to growth.

Meanwhile, Free’s financials continue on the up.

The operator saw sales grow seven percent to €2.16 billion between January and June, while profits rose 16.4 percent to €163 million.

According to Iliad, Free now holds a 16 percent share of the country’s mobile market with nearly 11 million subscribers.