Over La Manche, the French government has given in to intensive industry lobbying and slashed the cost of 3G licences to around a tenth of the original asking price. Over here, impecunious telcos are hopping up and down with excitement, pointing at copies of Le Figaro and trying to impress on the Treasury the importance of some similar money-back-no-questions deal being done.
Fat chance, chaps. Regardless of the way that big business in France tends towards the "L'Etat, C'est Nous' school of governance, and ignoring the fact that the UK companies actively gave the money to the Treasury with full knowledge of what they were getting and why, there are the small matters of economic slowdown, reduced tax revenues, massive infrastructure spend planned before the next election and, oh, some sort of war or two.
Less whinging, more product, dear telcos.