French MVNOs want a more competitive market

Alternative Mobile, the association of French MVNOs, is lobbying the telecoms regulator Arcep to enable these mobile service companies to compete more effectively with the three major French operators.

Despite achieving 20 per cent growth over the last 12 months, Alternative Mobile claims that MVNOs have still only managed to capture just over 6 per cent of the French market.

This comes after Arcep made the decision that SFR and France Telecom Orange would be more appropriate to support MVNOs having both pledged to provide better terms for MVNOs to use their networks. Arcep apparently came to this conclusion following the assignment of residual 3G spectrum earlier this year.

However, Alternative Mobile is now claiming that this undertaking by SFR and Orange has not been respected, and it would appear that the MVNOs want the ability to strike deals with Bouygues Telecom, or with Free Mobile when it launches as the country's fourth mobile network sometime in 2012.

The association has called upon Arcep to review the situation prior to reaching any conclusion on the licensing of spectrum for LTE services. It believes that the award of LTE licences will be the last chance for Arcep to enable the MVNO business model to succeed in France.

Separately, the MVNO Auchan Telecom, part of the giant supermarket chain Auchan, has launched an 'unlimited' subscription plan offering voice services, text messaging, internet access and e-mail for €69 per month on a two-year subscription, or €75 per month on a one-year contract.

However, the user is limited to 4,000 text messages per month, each call cannot be longer than 2 hours, and internet access speed is throttled after 500MB.

For more:
- see this Telecompaper article (sub req)

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