Connecting Networks

The "small" operators are attacking Orange

The AOTA - Association of Alternative Telecommunications Operators - has just referred the matter to the Arcep to request the opening of Orange's fibre network. Indeed, the 47 members of the association complain that they do not have sufficient access to it and accuse the incumbent of anti-competitive practices.

 

Since they cannot build very expensive networks themselves covering the entire country, small operators must first "borrow" Orange and SFR networks. They therefore rent access to the two dominant players in the corporate telecom market and buy voice or data from them at wholesale prices. They then sell them to their own customers.

 

But here we are, alternative operators feel ousted from the market of companies that have not been able to "connect" enough to the Orange network. With 12.4 million outlets, the incumbent's fibre network is both very large and very capillary. Hanging on to it therefore makes it possible to target SMEs with connectivity needs on several sites or plants spread over the territory. It is precisely these customers who escape the more geographically limited members of the AOTA.

 

A long-standing problem linked to the lack of fibre regulation for professionals. Indeed, Orange is obliged to offer wholesale offers to small operators wishing to access the copper network (ADSL) but not on fibre. In 2017, Alternative Télécom had already demanded more openness.

 

However, it is impossible for Orange to open up to competition a network built with billions of investments. Small operators believe that the operator has been favoured by its historical footprint on cable, which it was able to convert very quickly to fibre. Today, Orange controls approximately 70% of the corporate fibre market.

 

For its part, the French Competition Authority has chosen to regulate this market by creating a third player, Kosc, to "break" the predominance of Orange-SFR. This "wholesale" operator deploys its own fibre network, which it then rents to small AOTA or Alternative Télécom operators. "Kosc is a good complement, but it's one of many solutions. And anyway, the Kosc network does not have the same capillarity as Orange," explains one of these small operators. The ball is now in the Arcep's court.

 

 

 

 

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Source : Les Echos

 

 

 

 

 

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