Orange-Free roaming: Bouygues Telecom does not get the expected 2.3 billion euros

Hard blow for Bouygues Telecom which loses the battle against Orange and Free. The operator will not see the color of its 2.3 billion euros disbursed to face the agreement between its two opponents. Justice believes that the latter does not violate the competition rules and that Arcep, in the sights of Bouygues, has not failed in its role.

Bouygues Telecom
Credits: Bouygues Telecom

No unfair competition on the part of Free and Orange, or any breach of its duty on the part of Arcep. The decision of the Paris administrative court is far from meeting the expectations of Bouygues Telecom, which hoped to recover 2.3 billion euros of this showdown that opposes it to these entities since 2014. That is the sum that the operator would have disbursed since 2011, year in which Orange authorizes Free to use its network 2G and 3G.

This roaming agreement, which Arcep recently authorized to extend, resulted in price drop Bouygues Telecom packages, in addition to advertising expenses to retain customers. In total, it is therefore more than 2 billion euros that the operator hoped to recover from the State, after accusing Free of reducing Orange’s roaming speeds, as well asArcep not to react in front of this situation.

Justice does not agree with Bouygues Telecom in the Orange-Free roaming case

This procedure therefore ended on December 29 with the verdict of the Paris court, for which Arcep has certainly “Ignored the extent of his powers”, without having committed any real fault. The agreement between Free and Orange had no consequences “such that Arcep should have taken other measures […] and that by failing to do so she would have committed a serious fault such as to engage the responsibility of the State ”.

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The authorities also believe that Free has not restrained Orange’s networks, and that therefore “No deficiency can be attributed to Arcep on this point”. They also recalled that the operator has fulfilled its part of the contract by increasing its coverage to 27% in 2021 and 75% in 2015. To conclude, the court declared that Bouygues Telecom’s expenses arose from the commercial strategy of its competitors and not of the agreement itself.

Source: Les Echos