PARIS, June 12 France's top competition
regulator Bruno Lasserre said he would issue a decision in
September on Orange's challenge to a mobile network
sharing agreement between two of its competitors Vivendi's SFR
"It is expected by September," said Lasserre at a telecoms
conference on Thursday held by newspaper Les Echos.
Bouygues and SFR, who signed the agreement in February,
expect to reap 300 million euros ($408.45 million)a year in cost
savings by 2017-2018 from a project to share mobile network
antennas outside urban areas.
The carriers will create a joint venture company to operate
11,500 mobile towers covering 57 percent of the population,
eliminating 7,000 towers between them.
They will share cell sites and antennas but not spectrum or
core elements of the network, which they say will allow them to
offer differentiated services to consumers.
Orange has argued that the agreement is anti-competitive
because the operators will no longer fight in the market on the
basis of their network quality.
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Reporting by Leila Abboud and Gwenaelle Barzic)