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Free Wins Regulatory Battle with Orange

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As part of a dispute between Free and Orange, the French telecoms regulator, Arcep is ordering Orange to lift unfounded restriction measures on its unbundling services.

In response to an application by Free, Arcep has settled a dispute over the price charged for active equipment hosting solutions at Orange "NRA" subscriber connection points and "NRO" fibre concentration points (FCP), and for "LFO" fibre backhaul solutions when they are used to relay traffic from mobile base stations connected to telco networks over optical fibre.

Concerning the hosting solution

Arcep concluded that Orange cannot charge Free an addition fee for this new application. Indeed, current regulation[ stipulates that the prices charged for hosting solutions at Orange subscriber connection points and fibre concentration points to relay traffic from mobile base stations connected to a fibre network must be cost-based.

Concerning the backhaul solution

Arcep concluded that Orange could not charge Free an additional fee when the latter was employing its "LFO" fibre backhaul solution to backhaul traffic from cellular towers connected to telco networks over optical fibre, in addition to fixed network traffic.

In particular, the Authority concluded, on the one hand, that charging different prices for passive fibre backhaul links depending on the use being made of them and the type of network connection being used by cellular sites, runs counter to the objectives of fair and effective competition that is beneficial to users, and of fostering innovation and technological neutrality and, on the other hand, that there was no evidence to justify Orange's appropriation of the value derived from its competitor's own investments.

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Tags: orange  arcep  free mobile  France