The telecom gendarme announced yesterday that the date for the end of Orange roaming at Free Mobile has been extended to December 31, 2022.
The roaming contract between Free Mobile and Orange, signed in 2011, has been extended by two more years. ARCEP announces that it received an addendum to the contract last February for this extension.
Two years more for Orange roaming at Free Mobile
Little reminder of the context. To allow the launch of Free Mobile and the operator to offer its services under fair conditions, a roaming contract has been signed with Orange to allow Free to use the incumbent operator’s 3G and 2G network in areas where there is insufficient coverage.
Once the operator was launched, Free Mobile and Orange thus revised their agreement in 2016 in order to start the gradual termination of roaming by reducing maximum speeds. The end date had been set for December 31, 2020, and since then speeds on Orange’s 2G / 3G network have gradually decreased to 384 kbits on January 1, 2020.
Xavier Niel’s operator asked for an extension, saying he was facing the”Impossibility for Free Mobile to catch up with the market coverage standard which has increased significantly with the Crozon mutualization agreement (pooling agreement between Bouygues and SFR NDLR)and New Deal bonds ”.
ARCEP details the content of the addendum it received on February 24, 2020, including the technical details regarding this extension.
- the technical terms for phasing out the roaming service are extended until December 31, 2022:
- capping the maximum upload and download speeds achievable by Free Mobile roaming customers at 384 kbits in 2021 and 2022;
- the lack of increase in the capacity of the interconnection links between the Free Mobile core network and that of Orange for the flow of total roaming traffic.
- the addendum sets out the financial terms applicable for the period 2021-2022. A financial mechanism was notably introduced in 2022 with the objective of encouraging ” reducing the number of Free Mobile customers using Orange’s 2G / 3G network. ”
The addendum in question is currently being examined by the telecoms gendarme, in particular to analyze the regulatory objectives and guidelines concerning the agreement established for the gradual termination of homelessness.
The usage rate of Free Mobile’s own network continues to increase, reaching new records during the containment period. But Orange roaming will still be there for two more years.