PARIS (Reuters) - A protest movement against the deployment of 5G mobile technology in France risks dampening the country’s attractiveness to investors, French tycoon Xavier Niel said on Tuesday.
“5G is an element of attractiveness for our country,” Niel, founder of French broadband internet provider Iliad (ILD.PA), said at a news conference.
“There is a moment when we are going to have to generate jobs in this country, so we need foreigners and investors to come here.”
France plans to hold its much-awaited 5G spectrum auction at the end of September after several delays, including due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Germany and Italy have already raised billions of euros through 5G spectrum auctions, raising questions in France over how much the French state will aim to raise.
Orange (ORAN.PA), Altice Europe’s SFR (ATCA.AS), Bouygues Telecom (BOUY.PA) and Iliad, the four main French telecoms operators, have been caught up in a protracted price war which has weighed on margins.
Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by Maya Nikolaeva, Editing by Sarah White and Jane Merriman