4 October 2002
Improved mobile coverage is a major concern in terms of regional development.
Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) is particularly committed to complete coverage, and began work on this issue in early 2001, by putting in place tools to evaluate effective geographic coverage, and by examining the various possible methods to reach this goal. Following its work, it has developed a method for accurately determining effective geographic coverage, municipality by municipality. The method’s usefulness has been recognised and it has been chosen by some thirty départements for field surveys.
ART has also led in-depth reflexion on the advantages of the two main approaches expected to be used: local roaming and shared passive infrastructures. It has examined these solutions with respect to the goal of extending geographic mobile coverage at the lowest cost while providing quality service, and avoiding the introduction of any competitive imbalance among the three mobile operators. Local roaming is the best able to optimise investments. However, in order to fully take account of the differences between the various zones, any national geographic coverage extension diagram must be based on both solutions.
It was in this spirit that ART led in-depth discussions with the operators, which resulted in Orange France, SFR and Bouygues Telecom submitting a common position addressed to the Chairman of ART on 24 September 2002.
In this document, which ART published today, the three operators state their commitment in favour of covering "white zones". They state that they are prepared to begin work immediately on the first common sites and initiate experiments in order to validate the conditions for implementing local roaming.
ART is satisfied with this commitment. It will continue to work with all concerned parties in ensuring the chosen directions are quickly and concretely implemented, in order to offer satisfactory responses to the expectations expressed in current public debates.
The common position of Orange France, SFR and Bouygues Telecom on GSM coverage of white zones