France Telecom undertakes not to favour its own subsidiary on the telephone fitting engineering market

23 January 2009

Romain Ferla

France Telecom has offered further commitments following the Competition Council’s earlier order granting Solutel interim measures to prevent France Telecom restricting competition in the telephone fitting engineering market.  The Competition Council approved these commitments, on 7 October 2008, as credible, verifiable and solving all the competition issues.

In November 2006, Solutel filed a complaint with the Competition Council against France Telecom for an alleged abuse of dominant position on the telephone fitting engineering market, before settling. Solutel held that France Telecom, by disparaging Solutel’s expertise, by restricting the connection between private domain ducts and public domain network and by charging excessive fees for this service hindered effective competition on this market.

On June 2007, the Competition Council ordered interim measures. France Telecom was to prevent any denigrating conduct against Solutel, to suspend the disputed feed and to perform the connection of ducts within 15 days following Solutel’s request.

Despite the fact that the claimant had dropped its complaint, in May 2008 France Telecom offered to complement its commitments proposal. The Competition Council welcomed the commitment to provide a connection with or without on-site technical support, if superfluous, on a cost-oriented fare basis, within 15 days. France Telecom also offered to set up a one-stop office to receive ducts connection requests and to process any complaints about France Telecom’s agents potential disparaging of a competitor. Finally, supply and installation of cables should not exceed 28 days, whilst connection of final customers will not surpass 8 days.