French cellcos Orange France and Free Mobile (part of the Iliad Group) have signed an agreement to gradually terminate their national 2G/3G roaming deal (inked in 2011) by the end of 2020, following several months of negotiations. Under the plan, the phasing out of Free’s roaming over the networks of Orange France is scheduled to start from January 2017. The contract will now be forwarded to the Authority of Regulation for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes, Arcep), which must ‘verify its coherence’ with the outlined recommendations published in May 2016.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in January 2016 Arcep opened a public consultation on its draft guidelines on mobile network sharing by proposing a gradual termination of all roaming agreements in metropolitan France. In regards to the Free/Orange deal, the regulator proposed that the termination process should start before the existing contract expires, with 3G roaming between Orange/Free scheduled to end between 2018 and 2020. For 2G (voice, SMS and data) services the termination date should be between 2020 and 2022.