Hard blow to Bouygues Telecom that loses the battle against Oranje and Vrij. The operator will not see the color of its 2.3 billion euros being disbursed to face the deal between its two opponents. Justice is of the opinion that the latter does not violate the competition rules and that Arcep, in Bouygues’ crosshairs, has not failed in his role.
No unfair competition on the part of Free and Orange, or dereliction of duty on the part of Arcep. The decision of the Paris Administrative Court falls far short of the expectations of Bouygues Telecom, which hoped to recover € 2.3 billion from this confrontation that these entities have resisted since 2014. That is the amount that operator would have spent since 2011, the year Orange Free gave permission to use its 2G and 3G network.
This roaming agreement, which Arcep has recently allowed to renew, resulted in lower prices for Bouygues Telecom packages, in addition to spending on advertising to retain customers. So in total, it’s more than 2 billion euros that the operator hoped to recover from the state, after accusing Free of slowing Orange’s roaming speeds, as well as Arcep for not responding to this situation.
Justice does not agree with Bouygues Telecom in the Orange-Free roaming case
These proceedings therefore ended on December 29 with the ruling of the Paris court, for which Arcep admittedly “ignored the scope of his powers”, without having committed any real error. The agreement between Free and Orange had no consequences “so that Arcep should have taken other measures […] and that, in failing to do so, it would have committed a grave error such as to incur state liability ”.
The authorities also believe that Free has not controlled Orange’s networks and that therefore “no failure can be attributed to Arcep on this point.” They also recalled that the operator fulfilled its part of the contract by increasing its coverage to 27% in 2021 and 75% in 2015. In conclusion, the court stated that Bouygues Telecom’s expenses stemmed from its competitors’ business strategy and not of the agreement itself.