Regulator calls for level playing field for MVNOs

31 Jul 2008

France’s Competition Council is calling on the telecoms regulator to introduce a number of measures designed to improve market conditions for the country’s mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), Telecompaper reports. MVNOs currently account for less than 5% of the total French mobile market and less than 2.4% of total revenues. The Competition Council argues the situation is a result of the difficult contract arrangements MVNOs were forced to sign with network operators SFR and Orange France when the sector was opened up to them in 2004/05. Virtual operators were forced to accept clauses that linked prices to operators’ retail prices, as well as long exclusivity clauses and no access to network elements that allowed commercially sensitive information to get back to the network operator. The agency is proposing three solutions to the problem, including new contract offers from the operators (it cites Bouygues as showing promise in this area with its recent contract offers); the award of the fourth 3G licence to stimulate competition; and new regulations or legislation to level the playing field.

France, Bouygues Telecom