Egypt’s Orascom wants to enter the French mobile market and is prepared to partner with a candidate for the country’s fourth 3G license. “Yes, I would like to set foot in France… We are open to all sorts of scenarios; acquisitions, mergers, alliances, partnerships,” chairman Naguib Sawiris told French daily Le Figaro, notes Reuters. “Eight million North Africans live in France and I think it makes sense from an industrial point of view to set foot in the French market,” Dow Jones Newswires reported Sawiris telling Le Figaro. Asked if Orascom could be interested in an alliance with one of the potential bidders for a fourth 3G license in France, he said: “We are open to everything. We are prepared to team up with one of the candidates for this license.”
The French government reportedly plans to launch the tender offer for frequencies set aside for the country’s fourth 3G mobile phone license before the end of July. Iliad is the only official candidate for the license. Numericable and Virgin Mobile France are mulling the possibility to bid jointly. It has been reported that the price of the license is likely to be EUR240 million, up from previous estimates of EUR206 million.