Paris, 9 June 2000
Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) recently ruled on a complaint, submitted by 9 Télécom Réseau on 23 December 1999, against France Telecom.
- Object of the dispute
The dispute involves access, via France Telecom's network, to 9 Télécom Réseau's Internet services using telephone numbers with the form 08 60 …. More specifically, the parties request, on the one hand, that the interconnection option to be applied, and on the other, the fees to be paid by the operators, be determined.
- The interconnection option to be applied
Telephone numbers reserved for Internet access give operators the choice between two types of interconnection: direct or indirect.
In the direct interconnection option, France Telecom pays back to the interconnected operator a call termination charge, because the third party operator offers an interconnection service France Telecom for terminating its traffic.
In the indirect interconnection option, the interconnected operator pays to France Telecom an interconnection charge for collecting traffic to its own network. In other words, in this case, France Telecom offers an interconnection service to the third party operator.
In some cases, France Telecom also provides invoicing and payment collection services to the third party operator for which it also receives remuneration.
This is the option chosen by France Telecom and 9 Télécom Réseau in 1999.
Wishing to terminate the indirect interconnection service offered in this option, France Telecom requested, in this dispute, that a direct interconnection option be applied instead. However, 9 Télécom Réseau wished to continue with indirect interconnection.
In order to protect the stability of interconnection conditions and operators' freedom of choice between the two interconnection options, ART deemed it essential that the indirect interconnection option be maintained.
- Payment of fees
The indirect interconnection option chosen by France Telecom and 9 Télécom Réseau in 1999 stipulated that France Telecom provide invoicing and payment recovery services for access to 9 Télécom Réseau's Internet access, and that it would pay, per minute of traffic, an amount equal to the average revenue generated by Internet services, after deducting the cost of invoicing and collection (cf. indirect interconnection option above).
9 Télécom Réseau contested France Telecom's evaluation of the average revenues for 1999, i.e. 12.63 centimes, and estimated them rather at 14.8 centimes.
In its ruling, ART set the amount of average revenues at 14.68 centimes for 1999. This amount was calculated using traffic and sales data provided by France Telecom during the dispute hearings, in response to a detailed questionnaire submitted by ART.
- A ruling favourable to the development of Internet in France
This ruling reaffirms the principle of coexistence between the two interconnection options, which allows new entrants to choose either direct or indirect interconnection according to their individual strategies.
By maintaining the indirect interconnection option, operators will be guaranteed of better control of the technical and pricing parameters entering into the provision of Internet access services, and encourages the development of innovative and competitive offers.
Decision no. 00-489 dated 26 May 2000 (pdf - 67 Ko) (French Version )