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Christian von der Ropp

Martin,

Please allow some remarks to your post:

Regarding the allocation of 900MHz Free has already received a 5 MHz chunk on July 12th, 2011 which however may only be used in rural areas until 2013 when it will be released for nationwide use (Sorry, my chart on Wikipedia was misleading until today since the changes already taken place in July were listed in the "futur" section). But of course capacity will primarily be needed in urban areas.
Anyway with 80m tourists visiting France every year and the whole French population moving to the south during summer I think Free could get significant load on their 900MHz cells along the southern coasts and generate attractive cashflows.
As you mentioned France still offers a lot of unfilled market niches leaving interesting opportunities for Free, e.g. also a tourist-aimed prepaid product not requiring knowledge of French.

By the way is there something like a multi-band dual carrier specification for HSPA+?

As of the technological problems it could become even more complicated than you indicated since Free already have a national roaming agreement with Orange in place (currently limited to 2G but subject to extenstion to 3G). Since SFR's regulatory obligation to let Free roam is limited to their LTE800 network, Free would still need Orange for nationwide coverage (unless a voluntary agreement for <4G-roaming would be entered with SFR). I suppose it is nearly impossible to get a smooth setup with two national roaming partners involving different technologies and seamless handovers among each other (which not only involves handovers from Free to Orange or SFR and vice-versa but also between Orange and SFR). Against this background and given the existing roaming agreement with Orange (surley lasting for a couple of years) Free will perhaps never make use of their right to roam on SFR's LTE800 network but rather stick with Orange and extend the existing agreement to 3G and 4G.

Raj

Very Informative blog site to keep upto date on Wireless Comm.
Currently I'm reading your book titled GSM to LTE.

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