Bouygues says French market is in 'self-destructive spiral'

11 Jul 2012

Martin Bouygues, CEO of industrial group Bouygues, has called on the French government to take a harder line on mobile newcomer Iliad, saying that the new cellco is destroying jobs and sparking a ‘self-destructive spiral’ within the French telecoms market. ‘France’s telecoms companies have been profoundly destabilised and weakened, both in terms of their profitability and their valuations,’ wrote Bouygues in a recent letter. The launch of Iliad’s new mobile service under the brand ‘Free’ has initiated a fierce price war among Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom.

The executive says that Iliad should be prevented from renewing a national roaming agreement that is due to expire in 2018, under which Orange carries much of its mobile traffic while Iliad deploys its own network. He also said the government should bar any operator from giving Iliad a 4G roaming contract. In response Iliad’s CEO, Maxime Lombardini, says that such bans are unnecessary, and that Iliad is committed to building its own network and meeting the coverage requirements of its operating concession.