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back to article France gets a fourth third generation network

The French regulator has awarded its fourth 3G licence, with Illiad-owned Free winning the beauty contest to get the spectrum at a knock-down price. Second prize would have been difficult in this particular beauty contest as there was only one entrant, but the result means that Illiad will pay €240m for its licence, compared to …

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AFAIK Free brought down the prices for Internet connections

So if they do the same thing with mobile prices it can only be good for the consumer.

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That was true...

...a long time ago. But nowadays there's no more competition in France for this market. So, don't expect a lot from Free.

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Haha...

Standard pay-as-you-go GPRS data rates in France are 15 centimes for 10 kilobytes. Yes, you read that correctly. It's one of the reasons I never bothered playing with my laptop and GPRS. You can get contracted plug-in 3G USB thingies, but the prices are high and the data allocations small; a few days of antivirus updates alone would probably max it out.

So here I sit. With one lousy megabit. I should be happy to have that, given that I live in a location where any operator in the UK would say "no way in hell can you get wired", but I am disappointed because EIGHT megabit costs exactly the same, and they stopped the 2 megabit service (my Livebox reckons it can manage about three-and-a-half). Perhaps what the industry needs is a little shakeup to instil some sense of sanity to the pricing?

Oh, and in case you didn't work it out, I'm with Orange. The big telco and the single most expensive provider going. But then, I have four kilometres of strung line and if that goes down, I don't fancy weeks of the ISP and telco blaming each other while nothing gets done. It's actually been pretty reliable. And as for a perk, 7 euros a month extra I get unlimited international calls. That makes up for the expense of the package, that I can call my friend in London on a Friday lunchtime and shoot the breeze for two and a half hours and pay zero. Or America. Or Australia. Or Japan. Or, in fact, just about anywhere except the Middle East, it would seem.

However, back to the GPRS data costs. I guess if smart whoo-hoo-and-all-that phones are to take off then you'd need to have some support for pay-as-you-go customers, and I'm afraid paying around nine euros to download and look at El Reg's homepage in OperaMini simply isn't going to cut it. I look forward to _that_ being shaken up.

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PAYG in France

Hi Heyrick, Do French telecoms companies still expire your PAYG credit at the end of each month? I had thought of getting a PAYG 3G dongle for when I am in la belle France (about 5 weeks a year) but if I can't carry over the credit from one period to another, there is no point.

Anyway the 3G coverage is so patchy it the moment, it would probably not work for me.

Let's hope Free extend the coverage in the West, though I am not over impressed by their dial-up service. I have had it about 10 years and each year it gets worse.

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PAYG expiry

I don't know about a 3G dongle, but yes - PAYG credit expires. I just lost ten euros on my Virgin account. You see, I need a mobile in order to be contactable. Once upon a time, I'd have used my credit. Now I have broadband at home and free international calls...

...my mother has amassed around 40 euros of credit thanks to the requirement to keep active credit in the phone. And I'm sure this is exactly how the companies want it.

There was a time when you could "make do" with a mere five euro top-up (validity 7-14 days depending on operator), but now that will only extend you number validity (how long you have your assigned number) for ONE month as opposed to the usual six months.

Personally I think mobiles are aimed more and more at tweenies with way too much to say on SMS. If I had my own way, I'd probably dump mine. It isn't cost effective.

On the other hand, give France some kudos. Was yacking on the phone in the car (not as a driver, I must point out) and going through some pretty rural places. The signal hiccuped a few times, but kept on going for the twenty-odd minutes the credit lasted.

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Coffee/keyboard

I wonder..

.. if France would prefer a 3rd 4th gen network?

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