The head of France’s competition regulator, Bruno Lassere, announced yesterday that Iliad should end its roaming deal with Orange France by 2018 at the latest. Iliad currently pays between EUR500 million (USD650 million) and EUR700 million per year to Orange France for the latter to carry Iliad’s mobile traffic while it deploys its own network. The contract is due to expire in 2018, and Lassere is keen for it not to be renewed. Rival cellcos Bouygues and SFR have claimed that Iliad is deploying its own infrastructure too slowly due to the high costs involved, and instead is relying too heavily on Orange France’s network. ‘The real objective is the building of a fourth network that Iliad can use to serve its customers and respect its licence obligations, and roaming can be a part of that at the beginning but not forever,’ said Lassere at a briefing yesterday.
In the second part of the briefing, the competition regulator set out the criteria it would use to evaluate network sharing deals, such as whether a deal applied to cities or rural areas and the type of equipment involved. Last year, SFR and Bouygues discussed network sharing possibilities for areas outside major cities, and Orange France has also indicated that it would be willing to discuss network sharing with other operators.