The French telecoms regulator Arcep has warned domestic mobile operators France Telecom (Orange) and SFR it could fine them if they fail to improve 3G coverage in rural areas. Les Echos reports the two cellcos face fines of as much as EUR700 million (USD1.1 billion) if they do not expand coverage to the entire French population, the paper said without citing its sources. ‘Neither Orange or SFR respect their obligations to 3G coverage of the French population. Arcep could, if the operators fail to comply, impose a penalty of up to 600 to 700 million euros per operator’, the paper said. Orange’s 3G network covered 83% of the French population at the end of September when it should have covered 98% as part of its licensing requirements, and SFR’s network covered 80% in August, compared with a required 99.3%.