As part of the France Très Haut Débit plan, the operator in the red square has undertaken to cover around 20% of medium-density fibre territories, compared with 80% for Orange. They are, however, obliged to open up these networks to other operators at "reasonable prices" under the Arcep.
However, SFR has recently decided to increase its tariffs and the move has irritated Bouygues Telecom's staff.
Bouygues Telecom, like other operators, considers that the rates charged by SFR are no longer "reasonable". So much so that Martin Bouygues' operator formally filed a request for dispute settlement with Arcep more than two months ago. In detail, SFR's so-called "co-financing" tariff has been increased from EUR 5.32 to EUR 5.80 per line per month as of 1 February. The rental price for a single line rose from EUR 16.40 to EUR 16.73 per month.
SFR was already more expensive than Orange before its price increase. These prices are all the more unjustified since connecting to the network of the operator with the red square is, for technical reasons, more expensive than at Orange. Some argue that SFR's strategy is designed to discourage its rivals from offering competing fibre offers in the medium-density area.
This risk was recently mentioned by the chairman of Arcep, Sébastien Soriano: "Today, in private areas, Arcep is working on a project in progress, since one of the major operators deploying fibre has pricing practices that raise questions. I mean that we are working on it. The Arcep will not leave any stowaways in the system. It will not let a player take advantage of the situation to charge higher prices by having established a private monopoly. You can count on the Arcep to dot the i's on that."
A good connoisseur of the sector, however, tempers criticism of SFR. On the one hand, he argues that Patrick Drahi's operator has a higher cost base than Orange. On the other hand, he wonders why Bouygues Telecom only applies to Arcep today, when the rental price of SFR's line has remained stable since 2012. He also believes that Bouygues Telecom could also have chosen to co-invest, at least in part, with SFR, instead of resorting solely to the rental of single lines. In any event, it is now up to the regulator to arbitrate.
Source : La Tribune