Orange Group’s chairman Stephane Richard has disclosed that while Orange France is in favour of a national agreement between operators to address the so-called ‘white areas’ currently not covered by mobile networks, the company is willing to act alone and cover all underserved regions this summer, domestic newspaper Les Echos reports. The executive revealed that the company is ready to enter into partnerships with local communities, committing to invest ‘tens of millions of euros’ to expand rural mobile services throughout the country.
As reported by CommsUpdate earlier this week, the French parliament approved an amendment to the telecoms component of France’s economic reform law ‘Loi Macron’, under which telecoms operators will be required to improve mobile coverage throughout the country. Under the new legislation, existing gaps in 2G network coverage in rural areas must be addressed by 2016, while all unserved municipalities in these white areas should be covered with 3G/4G networks by 2017. The law will ensure that residents of an estimated 170 municipalities which currently have no access to mobile services will be covered by mobile networks.