ARCEP publishes its analysis decision on fixed telephony markets (fourth round: 2014-2017)

Paris, 8th October 2014

On Tuesday, 30 September 2014, ARCEP adopted Decision No. 2014-1102 on its analysis of fixed telephony markets. It came into effect on 3 October 2014, and will remain so for a period of three years.

Following a favourable opinion from the French Competition authority, and after having taken into consideration the observations of the European Commission and feedback from the sector’s stakeholders, received on 19 September, on 30 September 2014 ARCEP adopted a final decision on its analysis of the markets for access to fixed telephony services and call origination at a fixed location (4th round: 2014-2017).

For this fourth round of analysis, ARCEP has prolonged the obligation imposed on Orange to provide a wholesale line rental product (VGAST) at cost-based prices. At the same time, the decision introduces a gradual relaxation of the pricing obligations imposed on Orange for straight carrier selection offers, i.e. excluding VGAST wholesale line rental, whereby the customer continues to have a landline telephone subscription with Orange. As a result, Orange will switch from the current cost-based regime to one that forbids excessive pricing of these products, starting on 1 January 2017. ARCEP’s purpose in so doing is to encourage alternative operators to provide unified plans that include access and calling services, and so have an exclusive business relationship with their customers.

In exchange for the planned increase in prices, Orange will be required to provide client operators that currently use these products and want to switch to a VGAST wholesale line rental solution (which includes both access and calling services), the support measures required to facilitate this transition. A communiqué from Orange on both planned price increases and the support measures put into place is expected by 1 January 2015, at the latest.