Paris, 28 July 2014
ARCEP provides clarification on the wholesale value-added services market’s operation (1), in two dispute settlement decisions.
· The first dispute was between the companies Orange and Free Mobile. It concerned Free Mobile’s billing Orange for a “call origination” service, to relay calls from the Free Mobile network to the Orange fixed network for value-added services (“VAS call origination”).
ARCEP considered that Free Mobile’s billing for VAS call origination, since entering the market in 2012, was unacceptable, particularly given the impact that this practice – which runs counter to the behaviour of all other market players – would have on the VAS value chain.
This decision is in keeping with existing regulation. ARCEP reminds the public that the value-added services retail market is currently under review, and that a series of reforms will be introduced in October 2015. The impact that these reforms will have on the wholesale market is analysed in a recommendation on the wholesale VAS interconnection market, published on 20 March 2014 – the purpose being to enable all stakeholders along the value chain to prepare for the implementation of the reforms in the retail market. ARCEP invites all operators to consult this recommendation.
· A second dispute was between telephone directory services provider, Le Numéro, which operates the number 118 218, and operator Free Mobile, and concerned the setting of the fee that the operator would be paid to supply services on behalf of the directory services provider.
As the operator of the network on which calls to directory services originate, Free Mobile provides Le Numéro with a sales and billing service that consists in charging its subscribers for use of the Le Numéro service, of collecting the fees, when applicable, and remitting a percentage of those fees to Le Numéro. But Le Numéro objected to the percentage that Free Mobile has been earing in exchange for providing this service, namely a 30% commission since January 2014, compared to the previous 16.5%.
In light of the applicable regulatory framework, and considering the services provided by each of the undertakings, the associated costs, and their respective contributions to generating revenue for the directory services segment, ARCEP considers it appropriate to set the maximum rate of commission that Free Mobile can charge at 25%. The Authority considers it reasonable that Free – which makes a significant contribution to the ability to generate revenue, given the way in which Le Numéro sells its products – sought to secure an increase in its percentage, notably when considering the successive substantial increases that Le Numéro has made to the retail price of its services.
ARCEP settles a dispute concerning access to a public initiative FttH network
The dispute arose between Orange and the Pays de Bitche region Association of municipalities which deployed a fibre to the home (FttH) public initiative network in the Moselle department. This decision pertains to the technical and pricing terms and conditions under which the Pays de Bitche region Association of municipalities must provide third party operators access to its network, pursuant to the regulations that apply to both public and private FttH networks.
Orange had requested that ARCEP require the Pays de Bitche region Association of municipalities to provide the carrier with a solution that gives it access to Association’s infrastructure at the network concentration points, as well as a complete passive access solution.
Given the solutions that the undertakings have proposed to ensure that the Pays de Bitche region Association of municipalities’ network complies with the FttH regulatory framework, ARCEP considered that the solution Orange requested should be implemented. The solution consists in installing concentration points in existing passive cabinets, to allow the carrier to access the Pays de Bitche region Association of municipalities’ network. ARCEP also granted the majority of the changes that Orange requested to the technical and pricing terms and conditions of the Pays de Bitche region Association of municipalities’ passive access product. As to the demands imposed on the Pays de Bitche region Association of municipalities, the decision gives the association seven months to produce a reasonable roadmap for adapting its network and creating a new access product that complies with the regulatory framework.
These decisions will be published in the coming weeks, with due consideration for trade secrets that are protected by law.
(1) This concerns the traffic and associated billing between operators, and between operators and the providers of value-added services, e.g. that allow users to access weather forecasts, distance selling services, etc.
Paris, 28 July 2014