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.
what were the outstanding components in France Télécom's standard interconnection offer which have just been approved ?
The additional components include:
- the offer for public telephone service providers:
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.
ART is convinced that the tariffs proposed will enhance the development of competition for this type of service.
- the technical conditions imposed and prices charged for telephone number portability:
Portability means enabling subscribers to retain their telephone number when changing operator.
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.
- tariffs for overseas departments and international traffic:
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.
ART has chosen a simple mechanism whereby tariffs will be revised on a quarterly basis in relation to settlement rates.
A process involving operators and in compliance with community commitments
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.
France Télécom played a major role in finalising arrangement, and the blueprints it proposed enabled constructive discussions with the new entrants.
The standard interconnection offer, which is now complete, can now be published by France Télécom.
This constitues an important contribution from France to the opening of European markets to clear and fair competition.
ART's agenda for 1998 and beyond
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.
ART will now undertake the intensive study required to prepare for the introduction of this method.
Naturally, operators will be involved in this work, particularly within the recently-created Interconnection Committee which is already famililar with the subject.
<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