Orange impressed the markets on Thursday with better than expected forecasts for its margin and core profits in 2014, although the French operator emphasised the figures will partly be achieved through continued cost cutting.
After months of speculation and rumour, the battle for SFR has finally begun. Vivendi announced late on Wednesday that it had received binding offers for the French mobile and fixed operator from both Numericable shareholder Altice and the Bouygues group.
Bouygues Telecom has reportedly entered the race to buy rival operator SFR, and has hired two investment banks to advise it on a possible tie-up.
Bouygues Telecom has launched the latest salvo in the French market, introducing a new low-cost fixed line package for €19.99 ($27.46) that the operator sells in combination with its mobile plans.
There has been an acceleration in moves by operators to address the thorny problem of voice and data roaming charges throughout the European Union, although there currently seems little likelihood that such efforts will stop the European Commission's Neelie Kroes from implementing her plans to abolish roaming charges completely.
Vivendi-owned SFR and Bouygues Telecom have agreed to share their respective mobile networks in order to improve indoor and outdoor coverage and reduce costs by between €100 million and €200 million a year.
Orange has become the latest operator to announce mobile plans that eliminate roaming fees for European consumers, but one analyst said French operators are taking an overly complex approach to "free inclusive roaming" plans that could just confuse users.
Moody's has downgraded Orange's credit rating to Baa1 from A3, indicating that France's bitter price war is continuing to have a dire effect on the country's mobile operators.
As of Tuesday this week, all four French operators will be including LTE in their low-cost mobile tariffs after SFR formally adds the high-speed service to its low-cost RED plans for €25.99 ($35.5) a month with unlimited access to YouTube and 5 GB of data.
According to initial figures from France's mobile operators, the new year brought further evidence that SMS usage in the country is being increasingly cannibalised by alternative services such as MMS or picture messages and over-the-top messaging apps.