Injecting new competition into a mobile telephony market already served by three national operators, French telecom regulator Arcep issued a third-generation (3G) wireless service license last Friday to Free Mobile, a unit of French Internet services firm Iliad. Free has committed to launch 3G wireless services within two years and to cover at least 90% of the French population within eight years. The company will be required to pay €240 million (US $342 million) for the license, for which it was the sole bidder. In awarding the license, Arcep predicted that the entry of a fourth national wireless operator would boost competition as well as the take-up of mobile broadband. (Iliad, the second-largest provider of broadband services in France, is the first provider in the nation to launch a “triple play” package of broadband Internet, Internet telephony, and IP-based television services.) Government officials also observed that Free’s market entry would “stimulate the existing operators, whose situation is stable and solid.” Taking issue with the price paid by Free for its license, rivals Orange, SFR and Bouygues—which each paid US $885 million for their 3G licenses—are contesting the award in court. Sources note, however, that the wireless frequencies that make up Free’s national license represent only a third of the 3G spectrum allocated previously to Orange, SFR and Bouygues.