Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Orascom Loses Interest In French 3G Licence

Egypt's Orascom Telecom has announced that it will not be bidding for France's fourth 3G license. The company had previously indicated that it might join a consortium with other French companies for the license.
A spokeswoman for Orascom did not give any reasons why the company decided not to bid. "It was announced today in our analyst day that OT/Weather will not be bidding," she told the Reuters news agency.
According to one analyst present, Sawiris described the regulatory conditions as too difficult. "I think the terms themselves were obviously not attractive enough or value-accretive," said Beltone Financial analyst Shrouk Diab, from Cairo.
In addition to the regulatory issues, there is a concern that the regulator could face legal action over the lower reserve price being set for the fourth licence. The new licence is being offered with a reserve price of EUR 240 million (US$339 million).
According to figures from the Mobile World analysts, the three incumbent operators market share at the end of Q1 '09 was: Orange (47%), SFR (36%) and Bouygues Télécom (17%).
Bidders have until 29th October to submit their bids, with the licence expected to be awarded around June 2010.
Iliad, the parent company of French Internet service provider Free, has confirmed that it will be a candidate for the licence. A previous bid for the licence by Iliad was rejected by the regulator in October 2007. Virgin Mobile France has previously suggested that it might be interested in the licence as a joint venture with Numericable.

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