Cellcos deny collusion

25 Aug 2005

All three French mobile operators have denied reports in local press that they have colluded with rivals to fix minimum prices and agree market shares. The claims, which have been made by newspapers including Les Echos and Le Canard Enchaine, say that executives from the three cellcos held monthly meetings between 1997 and 2003 to discuss market strategy. The papers added that an anti-trust investigation is already under way. Although it did confirm in a statement that an investigation is in progress, number two operator SFR said it “vigorously contests the existence of any cartel or any ‘control’ of the mobile phone market in France”. Meanwhile, the smallest player, Bouygues Telecom, labelled the allegations “absurd” and said it is fighting against the virtual duopoly of its two larger competitors rather than working with them.

France, Bouygues Telecom, Orange France, SFR