Arcep extends Free Mobile-Orange roaming deal to 2022

28 Oct 2020

French telecoms regulator Arcep has approved a two-year extension to the national roaming agreement between Orange France and Iliad’s Free Mobile, with Free Mobile users now allowed to access Orange’s 2G/3G networks (subject to an down/uplink cap of 384kbps) until the end of 2022. The regulator said that it believed the move would not hinder the ‘effective and fair competition between operators for the benefit of users and the development of investment, innovation and competitiveness in the electronic communications sector’, despite strong opposition from Altice France (SFR), Bouygues Telecom and industry group Alternative Telecom. All three critics provided comments in Arcep’s consultation phase, with Altice France claiming that the deal provided an ‘unacceptable competitive advantage and had serious anticompetitive implications for the market’, while Alternative Telecom argued it would damage competition in the wholesale segment. Free Mobile initially applied for the extension in April 2020, citing difficulties matching the coverage of its more established rivals.