Eurobites: Bouygues loses €2B roaming case

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Long-dead merger deal disinterred by EU court; streamers may have to do more on content access in UK; Ericsson, MediaTek claim FWA breakthrough.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

July 14, 2023

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Bouygues loses €2B roaming case
(Source: Phanie/Alamy Stock Photo)

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Long-dead merger deal disinterred by EU court; streamers may have to do more on content access in UK; Ericsson, MediaTek claim FWA breakthrough.

Bouygues Telecom has lost its claim for more than €2 billion (US$2.24 billion) in compensation from the French government, which it thought it was owed due to the alleged failure of Arcep, the communications regulator, to properly enforce the conditions of the roaming agreement between Free Mobile and Orange from 2011-2015. The Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris concluded that Bouygues had "not proven that the pricing strategy proposed by the new operator Free Mobile had been enabled by the conclusion of the roaming agreement of 2 March 2011 and had been unfair in a way that required action from Arcep."

  • The European Court of Justice has told the EU's General Court that it must look again at the case of the failed acquisition of O2 by Three UK, which the European Commission blocked in 2016. O2 initially challenged the Commission's decision before the General Court, winning that case. It is this judgement that the Court of Justice has annulled. Ultimately, of course, O2's owner, Telefónica, moved on from the failed merger with Three to create a fully "converged" operator with Virgin Media, so what these latest legal shenanigans are all about is anyone's guess. (See O2-Three UK merger probably should have been allowed and Eurobites: EU vetoes O2/3 combo.)

  • One thing this latest EU legal backtrackery has done is elicit a response from the ever-vigilant European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO), which sees the Court of Justice's judgement as serving to underline ETNO's case that European telcos need more certainty in their lives and that "competition remains key to future network investment."

  • Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, may force streaming services such as Prime and Netflix to do more to make their content accessible to everyone, including those with hearing disorders or neurological conditions. The suggestion comes as Ofcom launches a consultation on changes to its TV Access Services Code, which covers such areas as subtitles, signing and audio description.

  • Ericsson and chipmaker MediaTek are trumpeting what they describe as a new technology milestone for the fixed wireless access (FWA) market, namely achieving a "record-setting" 565Mbit/s upload speed through single-user MIMO and carrier aggregation technology running on MediaTek's T830 CPE platform. For the demo, a 2.1GHz FDD (frequency division duplex) band was combined with a 3.5GHz TDD (time division duplex) band.

  • The green credentials of BT have been recognized by German giant Bosch, which has presented the UK incumbent operator with a Global Supplier Award in the "Sustainability" category. BT has committed to becoming a net zero carbon emissions company by 2031. (See The greenwashing of telecom.)

  • A charity that supports older people financially and in other ways says that 48% of older people in England on a low income have struggled to pay their broadband bill in the last six months, and almost one in ten of them have already cancelled broadband and phone services in an effort to save money. Independent Age says the findings of the study, which it commissioned from polling company YouGov, suggest that the cost-of-living crisis in the UK has deepened the so-called digital divide. The charity warns that older people facing financial hardship may become more isolated and incur additional costs if they are forced offline.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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