Head of Orange Spain calls on government to cut 5G frequency price

MADRID, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Orange Spain has called on the Spanish government to cut the price of 5G frequencies that are to be auctioned in March, El Pais newspaper reported on Sunday.

Jean-François Fallacher, head of the French telecoms firm in Spain, said if the government reduced the current asking price of 1.17 billion euros ($1.42 billion) for 5G frequencies it could encourage investment in the sector.

“Recently, the Secretary of State for Telecommunications, Roberto Sánchez, suggested (the government) may review that price,” he told El Pais newspaper.

“This is something we celebrate as we consider the conditions subject to public consultation to be excessively demanding.

He added: “We have always said that this auction should not have an objective that could compromise the investments necessary for the 5G deployment.”

Fallacher said the telecoms sector was “excessively taxed” in Spain, citing a report by Ernst & Young which said the country levied one of highest number of taxes on operators in Europe.

“A review is urgently needed,” he told the paper.

Orange announced its third quarter results on Feb. 18 . (Reporting by Graham Keeley; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)