A communication of ART

Open competition and pre-selection

31 March 2003

The 3rd paragraph of article D.99-6 of the Post and Telecommunications Code states: "Operators which have access to information in the context of a negotiation or the implementation of an interconnection agreement may use this only for the purposes explicitly specified on its communication. In particular, this information shall not be communicated to other services, subsidiaries or partners for which this could constitute a commercial advantage".

Based on information received in mid 2002 on practices for recovering pre-selected subscribers, ART questioned France Telecom on the conditions under which it applied these measures for pre-selection.

ART learned that France Telecom's sales agents did indeed have access via computer to information which allowed them to identify the existence of pre-selection at the homes of clients, as well as, directly or indirectly, the operator they had chosen. ART also noted that these data were taken from those sent by France Telecom's competitors for interconnection in order to implement pre-selection.

ART ordered France Telecom to delete from its information system any means which would allow its sales agents to link one of its clients to pre-selection data.

France Telecom has assured ART that it has conformed to this injunction. Checks conducted at four France Telecom sites showed that, at the sites checked, pre-selection information was no longer accessible via the applications mentioned in this notification decision.

ART emphasizes it is particularly vigilant in this area to ensure that all market players, and particularly France Telecom-which is subject to special obligations for interconnection-respect pre-selection rules defined to encourage the development of fair and open competition in the interest and respect of the rights of consumers.