Bouygues CEO wants to end Orange/Free Mobile roaming deal

The owner of Bouygues Telecom, Martin Bouygues, is lobbying members of the French parliament to not renew the roaming agreement between Free Mobile and France Telecom Orange.

The Orange/Free Mobile roaming deal, which will expire in 2018, has caused French mobile operators to enter a "self-destructive spiral," Martin Bouygues wrote in a letter to the parliament members, according to French newspaper Le Figaro.

"The main explanation of the current imbalance of the mobile market is that the new entrant [Free Mobile] is the first and only operator in France to benefit, thanks to a roaming agreement with Orange, from the possibility of investing only in the profitable aspects of mobile network,"  Bouygues said in the letter.

He added that the roaming agreement should not be renewed, and must not include access to LTE services prior to 2018. 

The CEO said that Free Mobile is not bound by the same investment constraints as experienced by its three rivals. He points to Free Mobile's network spend in 2011 of €142 million, while Bouygues Telecom has invested around €600 million in the same period to upgrade its own infrastructure.

It is time, according to the letter sent by Bouygues to French MPs, to "restore competitive equality" in the mobile operator business.

According to Les Echos, Stéphane Richard, the CEO of France Telecom, has already expressed its readiness to host Free Mobile's LTE network.

For more:
- see this Le Figaro article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Les Echo article (translated via Google Translate)

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Analyst: Free Mobile driving structural change within France
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