Paris, 17th October 2014
After having its power to impose penalties restored, by the order of 12 March 2014, completed by a decree published on 3 August of this year, the ARCEP body in charge of legal investigations and proceedings initiated 19 proceedings in September against 11 operators for facts that could constitute failures to meet their professional obligations.
The proceedings concerned three mobile operators in the French overseas departments in particular: Guadeloupe Téléphone Mobile, Martinique Téléphone Mobile and Guyane Téléphone Mobile, authorised in 2008 to establish a fourth 2G/3G mobile network in their respective departments.
The investigation phase made it possible to ascertain that, to date, these operators had not performed any 2G or 3G network rollouts to provide mobile services.
As a result, on 7 October 2014, the ARCEP body responsible for settling disputes, legal proceedings and investigations ("RDPI") decided to give a formal notice to these three operators, to provide 2G and 3G mobile services covering the entire population that was to be covered under the terms of their respective spectrum licences, by 15 January 2016, with two interim deadlines set for 15 January and 15 April 2015.
Should these three operators fail to meet these obligations within the timetable set by the formal notice, the "RDPI" body could initiate proceedings against them by forwarding the case to the ARCEP's Restricted body which has the power to impose, if necessary, one of the penalties prescribed in Article L.36-11 of the French Postal and electronic communications code, which include a fine or the withdrawal of the operator's licence.
With regard to the 16 other proceedings initiated in September, examinations are still underway and may result either in a decision not to proceed, or in additional formal notices.
The three formal notices (in French): No. 2014-1135-RDPI No. 2014-1136-RDPI No. 2014-1137-RDPI Operator licences; ARCEP Decisions (in French): No. 2008-0605 amended on 3 June 2008 and No. 2008-1410 of 16 December 2008 No. 2008-0606 of 3 June 2008 and No. 2008-1412 of 16 December 2008 No. 2008-0607 amended on 3 June 2008 and No. 2008-1411 on 16 December 2008