Iliad is open to a mobile network-sharing deal with Orange, CEO says

FILE PHOTO: Thomas Reynaud, Chief Executive Officer of French broadband Internet provider Iliad, attends the company's 2018 annual results presentation in Paris, France, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - French telecoms firm Iliad is open to a mobile network-sharing agreement with market leader Orange to lower the deployment costs of 5G technology, its boss said on Thursday.

France’s four telecoms operators, which also include Bouygues Telecom and Altice Europe’s SFR, are preparing to rollout the next generation mobile internet after the 2.8 billion-euro ($3.32 billion) sale of 5G spectrum last month.

The attribution of 5G frequencies was accompanied by strict commitments by operators to the French authorities to demands for extensive coverage of the country with the new technology.

“We’re quite open minded when it comes to network sharing,” Iliad’s Chief Executive Thomas Reynaud told the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media and Telecom conference in a virtual meeting.

“It makes a lot of sense, economically speaking ... Orange is the usual suspect due to the fact that Bouygues and SFR already have a partnership on 70% of the population,” he added.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Edmund Blair