ART publishes the summary of its public consultation "The introduction of 3G networks in the overseas départements, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Mayotte" and announces the procedures and timetable for authorisations

Paris, 31 July 2002

On 4 March 2002, Autorité de Régulation des Télecommunications (ART) launched a public consultation on the introduction of third generation mobile telecommunications systems in its overseas départements (DOM), Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Mayotte.

The recently published summary of the consultation presents the following conclusions:

- Contributing operators express interest in deploying third generation mobile telecommunications systems in a single DOM or group of DOM and/or Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and/or Mayotte.

- Given the possibilities of freeing the UMTS frequency band, there does not seem to be any rarity of UMTS frequencies in the DOM, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon or in Mayotte. Several operators believe that there should not be more than two or three 3G operators per DOM or group of DOMs.

- None of the operators would consider a commercial launch prior to late 2004 even if they were interested in an experimental deployment in late 2003 - early 2004; some operators would only consider deployment at a later time.

- A number of different requests were made concerning the introduction timetable for 3G networks in the DOM. Some players wish to see an introduction procedure launched very soon, between now and sometime in 2003. Others consider that such a procedure should not be launched until 2004, or even later.

- A broad range of possibilities were suggested concerning the authorisation arrangement best suited to the specific character of the DOM : from an authorisation for each DOM or overseas territory (TOM), or an authorisation for each of the two major geographic areas, i.e. the Caribbean (Antilles and Guyane), and the Indian Ocean (Réunion and Mayotte).

In light of these elements, ART will examine authorisation requests in a manner similar to that implemented in late 2000 when it granted 2G authorisations in the DOM, that is, as the players submitted their requests, under the conditions of article L.33-1 of the post and telecommunications Code.

Given the timetable of players' initial plans, and in order to prevent any major time lag between the introduction of 3G networks in metropolitan France and the DOM, this process may be launched in 2003 and conclude with the granting of the first authorisations and frequency allocations in late 2003 for interested operators.

Until then, ART will consider the wishes of consumers and concerned players, and will prepare the means for implementing this procedure, in particular in terms of the progressive freeing of frequencies.