Orange may not yet be fully out of the woods, but the company remains confident that the race to the bottom in terms of pricing is coming to an end and is maintaining its EBITDA target for 2014.
France-based Altice said it is buying a 34.6 per cent stake in Numericable Group from Carlyle Cable Investments and Cinven, confirming plans that were originally announced on April 7 when Vivendi agreed to sell its French unit SFR to Altice.
Orange CEO Stephane Richard said the operator is still prepared to take part in consolidating the French mobile market in order to reduce pricing competition, but called on the operator's rivals to take the lead because Orange does not want to take a driving role.
Orange and Bouygues Group signalled that further consolidation of the French telecoms market is receding into the distance, despite the best efforts of the French government to encourage domestic operators to merge.
Numericable has agreed to buy Omer Telecom, which operates under the Virgin Mobile brand in France, for €325 million ($443.8 million) after the successful conclusion of exclusive talks with existing shareholders Carphone Warehouse and the Virgin Group.
Orange has topped the French telecoms regulator's review of network quality in an annual evaluation of mobile operator services, while enfant terrible Free Mobile lagged behind in fourth place.
Altice and Vivendi said they have signed the definitive agreement on the merger of their respective French units Numericable and SFR, dashing any last lingering hopes that opponents to the deal might have had that the planned union would fail at the final hurdle.
The need to reduce costs is as pressing in France at Bouygues Telecom as anywhere, and yet the company is forging ahead with its 4G investments including its recent launch of LTE Advanced (LTE-A) and will modernise its stores.
Bouygues Telecom this week announced the launch of commercial LTE Advanced (LTE-A) services in a number of towns and cities across France, and SFR and Orange also took the opportunity to provide an update on their LTE-A rollout strategies.
Bouygues Telecom finally revealed this week that it plans to cut 1,516 jobs or 17 per cent of its workforce as part of a transformation plan that the operator hopes will enable it to survive in a market with four mobile players.