A long bone of contention between Orange and its competitors, the rise in the unbundling price is back on the carpet.
While the copper network is expected to close by 2030, Arcep heard from operators about a possible increase in the price Orange charges to lease its copper lines to Free, SFR and Bouygues Telecom. If the incumbent operator justifies this request with expensive maintenance and is gradually abandoned by the French moving to fiber, its rivals refuse to pay more for a network at the end of its life.
Despite the protests, the cost of leasing a line by an operator had already risen to €9.65/month by the end of 2020, but Arcep had put in place a review clause before the scheduled 2023 deadline. Orange, for its part, demanded an extra €3, so the telecom regulator had considered another increase at the beginning of the year. This possible increase was accompanied by two conditions: the presentation of an ambitious copper closure plan and a rate that only applies in areas where fiber is already present. The operator who presented its copper abandonment ambitions asks: therefore subject to public consultation†
A too imprecise plan for Free, SFR and Bouygues Telecom
As a reminder, the closure of the telephony and ADSL network should take place in two phases, with the end of marketing ADSL offers until 2025 in areas where all operators are present, and between 2026 and 2030 the closure technique will be carried out zone by zone . However, Orange’s plan lacks precision to the taste of its competitors.
Indeed, the latter requires oversight of the process thanks to a committed local government and a very extensive public education campaign, similar to what we saw during the transition to DTT in HD in 2015. Madmen who want to prevent Orange from pushing by holding back copper its fiber offering through anti-competitive practices.
An increase not necessarily necessary
SFR, Free and Bouygues Telecom also repeat arguments already heard by refusing to pay for an old technology that they believe has already been largely written off and whose disappearance is already planned. † We are in the process of increasing the price of a product at the end of its life, knowing that it is already 25% higher than the average in Europe! “Explains one player in the sector, while others point to identical situations internationally where, despite the loss of the copper network, the unbundling percentage has not changed.
However, one of the operators does not rule out the possibility that Orange will pay more for the lease of the lines, on one condition: only those lines whose end date is close. Indeed, there is criticism that the technical shutdown will not happen before 2025 and will not be really effective until 2029 or even 2030 in most areas. not really encouraging subscribers to switch to fiber.
Source : the echoes