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France Telecom fined €45 million
Monday 15 October 2007 17:16:02 by Andrew Ferguson

Today is an expensive day for France Telecom as it has had a €45 million fine levied against it by France's competition regulator according to Reuters.co.uk.

While Orange, who most people will know France Telecom as, says the practices were "old and buried", it raises the spectre of other regulators around Europe hitting dominant providers who can be found to have abused their market position with large fines. This fine arose from a complaint lodged in 2001 by Club Internet (owned by German incumbent Deutsche Telekom).

In France Orange now has a 49.2% market share compared to the 90% in 2001. Earlier this year Telefonica was fined €150 million for its wholesale broadband pricing policies.

Since 2001, the French broadband market has moved on and many people view France with envy due to the choices of ADSL2+ and fibre based connections available in parts of the country. Though in terms of access to a basic broadband service, the UK still ranks well ahead of France.

Comments

Posted by adriandaz over 9 years ago
Surely this should also apply to other operators and SMPs who also price fix wholesale prices and other connectivity to prevent competition? Such as Kingston Communications...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Though in terms of access to a basic broadband service, the UK still ranks well ahead of France."

And this is good because?????
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
In response to Carpetburn - urm because people who otherwise would be stuck on dial-up can at least get a 0.5Mbps or similar service.

It could also be said by BT Wholesale providing slow services for so long the LLU market has had a year or two of captive market among those who do want higher speeds.
Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
I don't understand the logic of this fine. When pondering for 6 years, a regulator or whichever body has the power to exert fines should look at the current practice. France Telecom may have deserved a public scolding for its behaviour in 2001 but not in the shape of 45 million Euros. Competition would appear to be happening given the considerable drop in market share and continued investment.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
Fines aren't really constructive, the approach OFWAT took with Thames Water has more merit - mandating that they spend X on Y funding it from Z. At least that way something gets built with the money.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"In response to Carpetburn - urm because people who otherwise would be stuck on dial-up can at least get a 0.5Mbps or similar service."
Err but hold on the story says "many people view France with envy due to the choices of ADSL2+ and fibre based connections"
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Surely those that live in the middle of nowhere in france just have a adsl2+ connection but only get the same 0.5Mbps they would here in the UK anyway?? Unless im wrong anyone can have adsl2+ (providing the line is capable etc) and the speed just decays the longer the line is... just the same in basic terms as a normal adsl connection?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
As to the fine, Orange, France Telecom call em whatever you want, me personally from alot of what i have read say about time they got a big fine and personally i say well done to the regulator in this case (even if in this case they have done nothing wrong the company as a whole deserved it).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
Coverage of ADSL or ADSL2+ is not as great in France, i.e. more areas can get no service than in the UK.

So in simple summary, higher speed options for some, but more people than UK who can get no service
Posted by yamnesia over 9 years ago
What do you mean by "Though in terms of access to a basic broadband service, the UK still ranks well ahead of France"???

From my french point of view and my experience here in the UK for the last 2 years, the "broadband" whether it's basic or not is far behind France from a bandwidth, reliability, price and customer services point of view!

Sorry mate but I'm gonna ask you to demonstrate exactly where the UK is ahead in term of broadband...
Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
Do any companies actually pay these EU fines? I mean, MS have were fined ~600M euro in 2004 and the verdict was re-affirmed by the EU this September, but MS haven't paid a penny yet, will Orange manage to achieve the same result?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"So in simple summary, higher speed options for some, but more people than UK who can get no service"
Does the provisioning of ADSL work differently in france then? Or is it more a case of they concentrate on performance rather than profit and rather than try to connect people that will have hopeless speeds, instead they dont bother. Personally i couldnt live with 512k again and if thats all i could have i wouldnt bother with ADSL anyway.
Posted by yamnesia over 9 years ago
Companies like Free or Neuf really do their best to give you the best speed, and they are really good in this war.
But France Telecom is more interested in profit and don't care about the quality.
Here I've got Virgin I pay for 20M but I've got 5M as a daily average.
But they've tested the connection and said I have an average of 15M... Yeah right... they just don't say that's between my modem and their data center... then to the e-bone it's slower so they don;t have to pay too much to their supplier...
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
Do any companies actually pay these EU fines? - good question. The French are the last people I would expect to pay up. I guess you have to have exhausted all the possible routes to appeal before you have to pay ?
Posted by harryhound1 over 9 years ago
France:
60 million people.
547 K Sq Km.
110 p/Sq Km.

Japan:
128 million people.
378 K Sq Km.
338 p/Sq Km.

UK:
60 million people.
245 K Sq Km.
245 p/Sq Km.

Thoughts: Japan is a long thin string of mountainous islands.
UK should do better.
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