Paris, 20th November 2001
In a dispute settlement procedure initiated following a complaint from Free Télécom, ART has asked France Télécom to create a price schedule for per-minute Internet access.
At present, the per-minute Internet access offers offered by ISPs are invoiced by France Télécom under a third-party billing procedure. In that case, customers can only be charged at France Télécom's local per-minute rate, irrespective of the operator or provider offering the Internet service.
Free Télécom wanted a new price schedule for its per-minute Internet access offers to be included on France Télécom bills.
· The key issues involved in the decision
ART found that Free Télécom's request was reasonable and that France Télécom should introduce this price schedule into its network within three months.
ART judged that the proposed schedule, which cannot be mixed with France Telecom options on tariffs,, would be likely to increase visibility and transparency for end users, who would then know in advance how much exactly they pay for their consumption of Internet access services.
This decision makes greater diversity of pricing and hence contributes to genuine competition in the market for per-minute Internet services. It simplifies the system of refunding between France Télécom and Free Télécom, by basing it on objective data for prices and traffic.
This new tariff, which offers better terms to occasional Internet users or new consumers of Internet access, is likely to contribute to the growth of Internet services and to increase the number of Internet users in France.
NB: Decision no. 01-1055 (pdf - 47 Ko) can be viewed on our websit: