Free Mobile and Orange roaming deal questioned

2 Apr 2012

The French anti-trust regulator Autorite de la Concurrence has been asked to review a mobile roaming agreement between France Telecom-Orange and the country’s newest cellular operation, Free Mobile. According to Bloomberg, which cites a report from French newspaper Le Parisien, the regulator has had a request to investigate the roaming deal from CFE-CGC trade union representatives at rival operators SFR and Bouygues. Union sources are claiming that the deal goes beyond a normal roaming accord and has seen Orange and Free colluding to fend off competition from SFR and Bouygues.

Separately, Le Parisien has also reported that Free Mobile customers in Paris are having difficulties making calls at peak times. The paper says research by Paris-based firm Directique shows that up to 46% of calls made between 6pm and 9pm in the evening do not go through, with the failure rate standing at around 14% during the rest of the day. In comparison, call failure rates on the networks of Orange, SFR and Bouygues stand at just 1% at all times of the day.