Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mobile : the telecommunications operators hang up on the nose of the legislator ! –

The draft law of territorial coverage is the subject of a debate with the parliamentarians, but in a press gallery, 3 leaders of the 4 groups of phone are block against the project, and defend their investment priorities…

( — last November, Arcep published its “Observatories of mobile deployments in sparsely populated areas”. His analysis highlighted that the deployments are progressing but need to be speeded up. The high authority had then made the point on a series of roll-out obligations, and reminded operators of their commitments in the area of mobile connectivity in the territories.

The draft law of territorial coverage was the subject of a debate in the national Assembly and has been discussed in the Senate, where it has recently been adopted. It is intended to remove the white areas of mobile telephony. The ambition of the legislator is to remove any area without mobile phone network in the country, and improve the coverage of digital French.

A mixed parity commission will now have to load to find a version common to the two rooms. The underlying idea of the legislator is to push the operators to share the infrastructure of the network. The three main operators do not wish to, because they would have to open up and share their networks with the competitor hellion, Free Mobile.

Allo… the misunderstanding !

In a tribune published in le Journal du Dimanche, the boss of Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR held to mark their difference with the mps, supporting the position of network development at a pace expected by their investment plans and not the forced march, the legislature.

“The legislature, we want to say with respect and frankness that want to decide by the law, in place of the operators, the terms under which they will have to invest and build out their mobile networks in parts of the territory, by forcing them to adopt certain forms of organization and sharing of their facilities, will not have the expected effect”, they say.

When the operators make a mountain…

“We’re moving in 3 of the 4 telecom operators of the country. Our companies engage in fierce competition and compete for discerning customers who want a quality service at the lowest possible price. We have very little in the habit of appealing to public authorities, still less by means of the press. If we do it today is that we are very concerned about the parliamentary debate on the digital coverage of the territory, in particular the examination of the draft law on the mountain. The intentions of the legislature in the matter are perfectly laudable, but his directions seem counter-productive”.

Already 8 MdsE invested in 2015

In a forum where for a time they are block, operators justify their position by an economic argument showing the possibility of an upheaval of the economy of the telephony sector in France, denouncing the profiteers. In these terms, they are directly related to the Iliad group and its brand Free Mobile. “Far from encouraging investment and improving the coverage, this will upset the economy of our sector, to encourage the behavior of one or those who would like to benefit from the investment capacity of the other and reduce the positive impact, including for the coverage of the territories – of the competition between our companies”.

In their arguments, Stéphane Richard (Orange), Olivier Roussat (Bouygues Telecom) and Michel Paulin (SFR) are also reminiscent of the amount spent in investment in the sector. “The telecoms operators have invested in 2015 to nearly 8 billion euros in the deployment and maintenance of networks. (…) This is the equivalent of what would be spent if, each year, in each of the 100 French departments were being established five new colleges.”

Where are the operators ?

In November 2016, the Arcep had recalled that in relation to the program “white areas – centres-villages“, the operators are jointly responsible to provide, through a common network and with public financing, a basic coverage in a number of centres-boroughs which had no coverage. This program, launched in 2003, includes more than 3,800 centres-villages, after the addition in 2016 of 268 centers-villages. They represent about 1% of the population. The centers-settlements of the programme are covered at 91% for the voice and SMS services. But, the Arcep had noted that the deployments of the operators had sometimes to wait for several years. In particular, SFR, must finalise the deployments, and quicker,” said Arcep.

In its statement, Arcep has emphasized the progression of the service coverage high-speed 3G, but the operators were invited to “continue to accelerate their deployments, in order to finalize their deployments by 30 June 2017 and to ensure respect for their obligations, in accordance with the law”.

For the 4G, the spectrum usage licences contain specific obligations for coverage of the area of low density, consisting of more than 22.500 rural communes, accounting for 18% of the population but 63% of the territory. Incumbent operators of 4G frequencies in the 800 MHz (Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR) are required to cover, by January 17, 2017, with the 800 MHz band, 40% of the population of this area is not very dense. Orange and Bouygues Telecom, which cover more than 40% of the population of this area. SFR is increased from 25 to 32% in 1 quarter.

Free Mobile had no spectrum in the 800 MHz band, was not subject to this requirement but is required to hedge 50% of the population of this same area in 4G by January 17, 2022, in the 700 MHz band.

— ©2016,


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