German mobile-phone service provider Mobilcom AG announced on Tuesday that it has decided to return a license for operating a UMTS mobile telephone network. UMTS, or universal mobile telecommunications system, is designed to provide e-mail, high-speed Internet access and live sound and image broadcasts to compatible handsets. Mobilcome bought the license for €8.2 billion ($10.1 billion) from the country’s Regulatory Agency for Telecommunications and Post and will return it to that organization. Company officials said the move would leave them free to offer faster mobile phone services and remain a service provider. "This would not have been possible had the company insisted on keeping its own license, as licensees may not be service providers at the same time," Mobilcom said in a statement. Mobilcom’s decision to hand back the license ends its foray into third-generation mobile technology that pitted it against former partner France Telecom SA and almost led to its collapse last year. Mobilcom had joined five other companies, including Deutsche Telekom AG and Vodaphone Group Plc in spending a total of €50 billion on UMTS licenses in Germany three years ago.