Free Mobile's network suffers from overload at evening peak times

Subscribers to Free Mobile have complained of connection problems during the peak hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The latest network problem happened earlier this week with customers being unable to make or receive calls and text messages.

Of note, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported that the ongoing problem was being caused by congested interconnection links between Free's network and its roaming partner France Telecom Orange. This overloading had also affected a number of customers of Orange's Sosh low-cost brand and Virgin Mobile, which is also hosted on Orange's network.

"It appears that an incident with Free's network equipment has severely disrupted communications with their customers. Because of congestion, a small number of calls made by Orange customers was affected but the situation quickly returned to normal," an Orange spokesman told Le Figaro, adding that "the roaming agreement is not affected."

While now accepting that the problem exists, Free Mobile's parent company, Iliad, had earlier threatened to take legal action against anyone disparaging its mobile coverage or the level of network investment. The interconnection contract between Orange and Free Mobile, according to Les Echos, calls for the current ADSL link to be upgraded to support fibre gateways starting this July. Earlier this month, the owner of SFR, Vivendi's CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy, criticised FT Orange for providing Free Mobile with favourable network sharing terms.

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

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