'Unfair' scream French operators over rate cuts

French mobile operators have complained bitterly over the planned cuts to mobile termination rates as proposed by the French telecom regulator, Arcep. The new regulation would, maintained the operators, cut tens of millions of Euros from their annual revenues and represented an unjustified exception in Europe.

France Telecom Orange claimed it was surprised by the excessively low level of the proposed new rates, which would take France completely out of the European average. "This has to be viewed in the light that our French network is one of the most extended in Europe," said an Orange spokesman.

SFR joined Orange in deploring Arcep's plans. The company argued French termination rates were already 24 per cent below the European average. "These new termination rates would represent an unjustified exception in Europe," said SFR.

As of July next year, France Telecom Orange and SFR would have their termination rates cut from €0.065 to €0.045 a minute, and for Bouygues Telecom the new rate would drop from €0.08 to €0.06 per minute. Further cuts are planned 12 months after this date.

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