France's Orange complains about rivals' network sharing plan

PARIS, April 30 Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:48pm EDT

PARIS, April 30 (Reuters) - France's Orange has filed a complaint with the telecoms regulator about a mobile network-sharing agreement between two rivals Vivendi's SFR and Bouygues, according to Les Echos newspaper.

"The complaint was accompanied by a request for remedies aiming to suspend the implementation of the deal," the paper said.

A spokesman for Orange declined to comment. SFR also declined to comment and Bouygues did not return a call for comment.

Orange sees Bouygues and SFR's network-sharing agreement, which was signed in February, as covering too much of the country, and reducing competition, the paper said.

It also protested the technological approach taken by the companies because it would supposedly render the sharing irreversible, the report said.

France's telecoms and competition regulator are expected to review the complaint.

Bouygues and SFR's plan would take several years to implement, and Orange's aim is to prevent them from beginning the work of taking down mobile antennas and other steps before regulators review the deal.

Vivendi and Bouygues Telecom expect to reap 300 million euros a year in cost savings by 2017-2018 from the project to share a mobile network outside urban areas. (Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)