Paris, 16 June 2016
Since 2015 Arcep has had the power (1) to request that mobile network operators amend their network sharing agreements (roaming (2), network sharing (3), etc.), notably when required to meet regulatory objectives (4).
As part of the process of implementing this newfound power, on 25 May 2016 Arcep published guidelines in which it set out an analytical grid for assessing mobile network sharing agreements. At the time, Arcep invited mobile operators to submit the resulting amendments they proposed to make to their contracts, if applicable, before 15 June 2016.
This work was conducted as part of a high-level dialogue with the country's four mobile network operators, chaired by two members of Arcep's Executive Board: Marie-Laure Denis and Philippe Distler. It was through this process that Arcep was able to set the objectives and the amendment timetable for the two contracts, using a method based on empowering the stakeholders themselves. Arcep welcomes the reactivity of all four operators which signed the amendments within a very short timeframe.
Arcep has received two revised agreements:
On 15 June 2016, Arcep received the amendments to:
- the 2G/3G roaming agreement between Free Mobile and Orange;
- the 2G/3G/4G network sharing agreement and the 4G roaming agreement between Bouygues Telecom and SFR.
These amendments structure the gradual phasing out of roaming services. In so doing, they aim to support the mobile industry's rollout model: the rate of spending on network rollouts will continue apace, while 4G rollouts in major cities are set to accelerate in the coming years and progress more quickly than the minimum pace set in operators' licences. The competition model in place within the mobile industry will thus make it possible to fully achieve the regional investment and connectivity targets being promoted by public authorities.
Arcep will take a close look at the operators' documents
Arcep will now perform a detailed examination of these revised documents, notably in relation to its guidelines.
Moreover, Bouygues Telecom and SFR have informed Arcep that they would be completing the submission of their amendments in the coming days with a letter that will provide a detailed account of the rollout plans covered by their network sharing agreement.
Once its analysis is complete, Arcep will decide shortly thereafter whether or not changes still need to be brought to existing agreements, through the application of the newfound powers assigned to it by Parliament.
(1) This power is provided for in Article L.34-8-1-1 of the French Postal and electronic communications code (CPCE), introduced by the Act on Growth, Business and Equal Economic Opportunity published on 7 August 2015.
(2) Roaming is the process whereby one operator uses another operator's network and frequencies.
(3) Network sharing refers to the situation where two operators share their networks but each uses its own frequencies.
(4) Set out in Article L. 32-1 of the French Postal and electronic communications code (CPCE)