“Stolen” phones: Free loses its battle against SFR

Posted on Jan 21, 2021 4:43 PM

The legal standoff this time turned to the advantage of SFR, in a case that opposed it to its competitor Free.

As “Les Echos” had mentioned it, the Iliad subsidiary considers itself to be the victim of a “massive theft” of mobile telephones, the number of which is estimated at around 300,000. These are in fact devices rented by the operator to its customers but which the latter “forgot” to return. In reaction, Free had placed the phones concerned on the blacklist of the GMSA association. Identifiable thanks to its serial number (IMEI), each device placed on this list must be blocked by an operator if a person tries to connect to their network.

Orange and Bouygues Telecom had agreed to play the game. But according to Free, SFR would have been guilty of “unfair acts”, by complying initially and then by unlocking the devices concerned.

Altice Counterattack

To be sure, Free had requested – and obtained – the commercial court of Bobigny the right to access the list of serial numbers of stolen phones active on the SFR network. This was initially refused by the Altice subsidiary, before counter-attacking on the legal ground.

After a first abortive attempt, SFR had thus obtained from the Paris Court of Appeal the annulment of the initial order, which would have allowed Free to prove – or not – what it was putting forward. This will definitely not be the case, since his cassation appeal was rejected on January 14.

Contacted, SFR did not comment on this decision. Free did not respond to our requests.

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