Orange, SFR taken to task by French consumer watchdog over LTE claims

LTE operators beware: consumer groups are watching your moves very closely, and are prepared to pounce if they believe your claims on speed and coverage do not match reality. At least that is the case in France, where consumer watchdog UFC Que Choisir has filed a legal complaint against Orange France and Vivendi-owned SFR over the claims they have been making about their respective LTE services.

According to UFC Que Choisir, tests conducted during Oct. 3-17 in Paris showed a discrepancy between the LTE coverage that Orange France and SFR claim to have in the capital and the access consumers really get.

According to Reuters, Orange was "surprised" by the comments and said it was meeting its coverage commitments, as well as offering the maximum speed on its network. SFR referred to its previous announcement that said it is targeting 100 per cent coverage by the end of the year.

The consumer group has also requested that French regulator Arcep set up a special body to monitor the rollout of LTE networks and guarantee operator claims on coverage and speed.

UFC Que Choisir added that Bouygues Telecom, which launched LTE services at the beginning of October, is the only operator whose claims match the results of its tests in Paris with coverage of 99.4 per cent.

The consumer group further added that a new "digital divide" is opening up on LTE speeds, with people living in more rural communities less likely to get the promised maximum speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

For more:
- see this UFC Que Choisir release (translated by Google Translate)
- see this Reuters article

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