May 27, 2014 / 5:20 PM / 4 years ago

French telecoms regulator opens inquiry on Iliad mobile rollout

PARIS, May 27 (Reuters) - France’s telecom regulator said it would open an inquiry into whether low-cost operator Iliad was building out its mobile network fast enough to conform to the coverage obligations required by its licence.

Iliad, which markets its mobile and broadband services under the name Free, must cover 75 percent of the French population with its mobile network by January 12, 2015.

Its rivals have accused Iliad of not deploying mobile antennas fast enough and seeking instead to rely on a roaming contract with Orange, which carries Iliad’s traffic while it builds its own network.

“The Authority decided to launch an inquiry to ascertain whether Free Mobile is employing all of the means necessary to meet its obligation, and to assess any obstacles the rollouts might encounter,” the regulator said in a statement on Tuesday.

ARCEP is also opening four other investigations into the quality of service and coverage of France’s other telecom groups.

Among those is an inquiry into whether mobile groups Orange, Vivendi’s SFR, and Bouygues Telecom were fully carrying out pledges to build 3G mobile networks in rural areas.

Two other inquiries will look into Orange’s unit that services corporate customers and its provision of basic fixed phone lines.

Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by Astrid Wendlandt

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