16 December 1999
In a decision adopted on 15 December and made public today, Autorité de regulation des telecommunications (ART) approved France Telecom's interconnection technical and pricing offer for 2000.
Operators with significant market power are obliged to publish a technical and pricing offer, called a catalogue, allowing new operators to connect to their network. In a decision dated 15 September, ART decided that France Telecom would be subject to this requirement in 2000, as it had been this year.
The creation of this catalogue required long and in-depth discussions with both France Telecom and new entrants, beginning last April and which continued until the past few days. In order to justify its analysis, ART also used an audit and external consultants.
The main new elements of this catalogue are as follows:
1) Another decrease in basic interconnection tariffs
Given the changes made to the interconnection pricing structure (introduction of a call-by-call charge, new night tariff), the average change to interconnection tariffs in 1999 and 2000 are measured using a basket of interconnection services.
This measurement shows an average decrease of 11.2% for public network operators (licence L. 33-1) and of 12.3% for public telephone service providers (licence L. 34-1).
2) Priority given to Internet access
Tariffs for Internet access via the telephone network decreased on average by 19.3% for network operators and by 21.5% for service providers.
Moreover, the catalogue includes new traffic collection offers for Internet access services (indirect interconnection offer for free access services, study of a direct interconnection mechanism for other pricing levels, etc.). Discussions with France Telecom and market players will be initiated, chaired by ART, in order to more closely examine and clarify these offers.
3) Implementation of transporter pre-selection
This facility will be introduced on France Telecom's network starting 17 January 2000. It will allow a France Telecom subscriber to subscribe to another operator for long-distance or international traffic (it will no longer be necessary to use a prefix of one to four digits).
4) A reduction in interconnection implementation periods
Implementation periods will be decreased, as a general rule, from nine to seven months outside Paris, and six months in the Paris region. Special measures are included to allow new operators to better manage increases in their Internet traffic.
5) New facilities for access to special services
The 2000 catalogue introduces third party collection of traffic to special numbers (with 3BPQ format, used for card-based services) and third party invoicing of certain premium-rate services (the invoice for the new operator's services will be attached to the France Telecom invoice).
One of the measures proposed by France Telecom was not approved by ART. France Telecom had hoped to include specific tariffs for the creation or modification of interconnection bundles. ART considered that the content of these services would have to be described more clearly and that the principle of cost orientation verified. When France Telecom submits additional information answering these observations, ART will review the approval procedure again on this point.
This, France Telecom's third interconnection catalogue, which applicable as of 1st January 2000, will, under economically equitable conditions, help continue the effective opening of competition with the aim of contributing to the development of the French market and of the information society thanks to the action of all operators to the benefit of consumers.
ART's decision no. 99-1078 (pdf - 49 Ko) dated 15 December 1999 approving France Telecom's technical and pricing interconnection offer for 2000