The French Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ART) has approved the second part of France Télécom's standard interconnection offer

4 August 1997

The French Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ART) approved the main components of France Télécom's standard interconnection offer on April 9th, in order to respond as quickly as possible to the call from all market players for timely information on the technicial conditions and prices that will apply when the market opens up to competition.

The outstanding components which did not receive ART's approbation at that time, have now been approved.

Thus, France Télécom and the new operators now have the complete interconnection offer at their disposal and can begin negotiating agreements to allow for the interconnection of their networks from 1st January 1998.

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> what were the outstanding components in France Télécom's standard interconnection offer which have just been approved ? <br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> The additional components include:<br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman">- the offer for public telephone service providers: </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman">After studying France Télécom's proposals, ART has chosen to allow leeway for adapting the offer, should hitherto unidentified needs become apparent during the licensing process or during agreement negotiations. This is a pragmatic approach which will enable controlled adaptation to the market.</font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman">ART is convinced that the tariffs proposed will enhance the development of competition for this type of service.<br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman">- the technical conditions imposed and prices charged for telephone number portability: </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman">Portability means enabling subscribers to retain their telephone number when changing operator.</font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman">After consulting operators, ART asked France Télécom to supplement its initial offer so as to make it technically possible to implement a specific re-routing technique on its network during 1998, to boost the effective development of number portability.<br> <br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman">- tariffs for overseas departments and international traffic: </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman">After auditing by an independent consultant, the arrangements chosen take into account the network costs incurred by France Télécom and the settlement rates payable to international operators.</font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman">ART has chosen a simple mechanism whereby tariffs will be revised on a quarterly basis in relation to settlement rates.<br> <br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> A process involving operators and in compliance with community commitments</font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> A considerable amount of work has been accomplished since the beginning of the year. ART is pleased with the success of the process which has entailed widespread involvement and adherence to community deadlines.<br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> France Télécom played a major role in finalising arrangement, and the blueprints it proposed enabled constructive discussions with the new entrants. <br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> The standard interconnection offer, which is now complete, can now be published by France Télécom. <br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> This constitues an important contribution from France to the opening of European markets to clear and fair competition.<br> <br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> ART's agenda for 1998 and beyond<br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> The standard interconnection offer which has been approved for 1998 was determined using the initial "relevant forecast average cost" method. This method will be replaced by the "long-run incremental cost" method for interconnection tariffs applicable from 1999.<br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> ART will now undertake the intensive study required to prepare for the introduction of this method.<br> </font>

<font size="2" face="Times New Roman"> Naturally, operators will be involved in this work, particularly within the recently-created Interconnection Committee which is already famililar with the subject.<br> <br> </font>

<center><strong><font size="1">Press Contact: </font></strong></center>

<center><font size="1">Jean-François HERNANDEZ<br> tel : 33 1 40 47 70 33 - fax : 33 1 40 47 71 98</font></center>

email : Jean-Francois.Hernandez@art-telecom.fr

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