French telecoms watchdog, the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep), has launched five separate administrative inquiries into wireless network rollouts and the quality of service (QoS) of wireline services. According to a press release, the watchdog will investigate Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR in order to ensure that the operators are meeting their respective commitments. Under its licence obligations, Free Mobile is required to cover 75% of the population with its own 3G network in metropolitan France by 12 January 2015; in order to ensure that the cellco is ‘on an investment path that is compatible with achieving this target’, Arcep has launched an enquiry to ascertain whether the cellco is employing all means necessary to meet its obligations and to assess any obstacles the rollouts might encounter. Meanwhile, all four of the country’s mobile operators – Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR – will be investigated in relation to 3G rollouts in rural areas. The cellcos previously committed to deploy a shared 3G network in some 3,500 rural communities by end-2013, although Arcep pointed out that the first three operators had only achieved 25% of the programme. Further, in order to meet its 3G network deployment obligations, SFR’s footprint must extend to 99.3% of the population; the regulator’s inquiry is to determine whether the operator has indeed met this obligation. For its part, Orange France will be investigated in regards to the quality of regulated offers for the enterprise market and the quality of the universal service. Arcep noted that there has been a significant drop in the quality of wholesale services aimed at the enterprise market, and deemed it necessary to assess whether the actions that Orange has taken ‘will allow the carrier to improve the quality of its services rapidly’. Moreover, having noted that certain QoS indicators reported by universal service provider Orange did not meet the objectives laid out for the carrier, Arcep decided to initiate an inquiry to gather from Orange all of the information and documentation relating to its compliance with these targets.
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