Paris, 19 March 2004
As part of the preparation for the renewal of Orange France and SFR's GSM authorisations, the Parliament has announced how it will determine the fees to be paid by operators for the right to use GSM frequencies.
Operators will be required to pay an annual user fee composed of two elements. The first is a reapplication of an annual fee based on the number of channels attributed. The second is an additional payment equal to 1% of sales of GSM activities, similar to the fee planned for UMTS frequencies.
Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) is very satisfied with this decision. For the development of the sector, ART considers it essential that the amount of fees be set at a reasonable level in order to encourage investments, guarantee neutrality from a technological viewpoint (in that it treats 2G and 3G in the same way), and encourage improvements to the networks and services to the consumer's benefit.
Now that the amount has been established (the Parliament's responsibility), ART can finalise its work on the general conditions for renewal, initiated in March 2003. It is required to submit these conditions for the Parliament's approval after consulting the Commission consultative des radiocommunications.
ART expects to adopt the decision proposing to the Minister the conditions for renewal after its consultation of the Commission consultative des radiocommunications on 24th March.
As part of its general activities, ART is also continuing its action in favour of the development of competition in the mobile sector to the benefit of consumers. An initial consultation will be launched in early April that will propose a continuation of the decrease in wholesale call termination charges on mobile networks for 2005 to 2007. This decline in wholesale prices will allow a concomitant decrease in the retail prices of fixed-to-mobile calls.