|ARCEP publishes a consultation paper on the launch of third generation mobile communications systems in overseas territories|
Mobile communications markets in the French territories of the Caribbean and Indian Ocean have developed rapidly over the past few years to reach a similar maturity level to that of mainland France. This can be asserted through the comparison between mobile penetration rates (as of march 31st 2007, average penetration rate in the overseas areas was 96%, against 81.9% in the mainland) and through the growth of mobile multimedia services on GPRS and EDGE networks.
In mainland France, wideband mobile services are now thriving on 3G UMTS networks, which offer higher bitrates. Three operators are currently licensed for 3G, and a tender for a fourth license is open.
Overseas populations must also be able to benefit from the new possibilities enabled by UMTS. Therefore, 3G networks must be implemented rapidly, and must take into account the specific conditions of the overseas markets.
For these reasons, ARCEP is publishing a request for comments to prepare the licensing conditions in the 2 GHz band, which is the international standard band for 3G services.
ARCEP invites all parties likely to launch 3G networks in the overseas areas to express their interest within the framework of this consultation, in order to set up an effective licensing plan, and in particular to confirm the feasibility of a first come first serve process.
All parties interested in participating in the consultation are invited to send their contributions to ARCEP before July 6th 2007 at 5 PM CET.