ART presents its opinion on France Telecom's proposed "Local line" and "France line" prices

4 October 2000

Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) issued today an opinion on the prices proposed by France Telecom for its "Local line" and "France line" offers.

It is important to remember that the pricing modification requests made by France Telecom, as regards universal service and monopolistic services, must still be approved.

France Telecom's recent announcement of these offers will not affect the procedure in which ART issues a public opinion, prior to obtaining ministry approval.

France Telecom's pricing proposals concern the creation of two types of fixed-rate services for residential and corporate clients:

  • "Local line" services which include the main subscription and a monthly rate for local calls and Internet access
  • "France line" services which include the main subscription and a monthly rate for local calls, Internet access and long-distance calls

ART considers that grouping the subscription with a fixed rate in a single offer, whereas currently the subscription and call rates are presented separately, does not bring into question either the existence of the subscription as such, nor its price, which the subscriber continues to pay. The subscriber must continue to have the option of selecting or pre-selecting another long distance operator.

ART acknowledges the apparent simplicity of these offers for the consumer, but emphasizes that their actual advantage remains to be more clearly demonstrated.

In particular, ART does not approve of two elements in the France Telecom proposal:

  • For the "Local line" service, the specific clause regarding the minimum subscription period required by France Telecom
  • For the "France line" service, the pairing of local calls—a market on which France Telecom still has a de facto monopoly—and long-distance calls, which would improperly steal potential clients from other long-distance operators who cannot currently offer a similar service

As a result, ART issues a favourable opinion on the "Local line" services, both professional and residential, three, five, eight and twenty hours, with the express condition that the minimum subscription period be eliminated.

On the other hand, it issues an unfavourable opinion on all the "France line" services.

In its analysis, ART favours conditions which maintain fair and balanced competition to the benefit of the consumer. This aim, covered by legislation, benefits both the consumer and the economic development of the sector, both in the short and long term.