Orange Group, SFR sued by rivals for abusing dominant positions

7 Aug 2013

Four of France’s network operators – Bouygues Telecom, Omea Telecom (Virgin Mobile France), Outremer Telecom (Only), and NRJ Mobile – have filed a lawsuit for a total of EUR1.44 billion (USD1.92 billion) against rivals Orange Group and Vivendi’s unit SFR over claims of abusing their dominant positions in the market, Reuters reports. According to the article, Orange Group faces demands for EUR790 million, while SFR is targeted for EUR650 million. The legal proceedings against the telcos were brought forward after the French competition authority Autorite de la Concurrence (ADLC) penalised Orange Group and SFR on similar charges in December 2012.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Bouygues Telecom has already won a case it brought against Orange and SFR for abusing their dominant positions in the market. The local industry watchdog Arcep has upheld Bouygues’ complaint, first filed in October 2006, that its rivals [between the period 2005-2008] offered unlimited voice calls to three other on-net phone numbers that put it at an unfair disadvantage, given that due to it being the newest and smallest mobile operator, it was difficult for it to compete with such voice call plans. The ADLC upheld the cellco’s complaint and issued fines of EUR117.4 million against Orange, and one of EUR67.5 million against SFR. Orange pledged at the time to appeal the decision, while Bouygues Telecom announced that it considered suing its rivals for compensation.

France, EI Telecom (incl. NRJ Mobile, Auchan Telecom), Omea Telecom (incl. Virgin Mobile), Orange Group, Outremer Telecom (Reunion), SFR, Vivendi