the Competition Council announces its decision on the commercialisation of the 3G iPhone in France
Paris, Orange acknowledges the decision of the Competition Council and will appeal before the Court of Appeal in Paris.
Orange notes that this decision places France in a radically different situation compared to countries such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. Orange also points out that the launch of the iPhone in France was largely based on an industrial partnership in which Orange has heavily invested. This partnership has enabled a large number of people in France to benefit from innovative services at an attractive price. Thanks to its user-friendly interface and high-quality screen, the iPhone, with its specially adapted Orange packages, offers a truly new experience and has contributed to the emergence of mobile Internet in France benefiting the entire market.
The Competition Council’s decision also undermines Orange’s efforts to develop high-speed mobile services in France. It is ironic that the operator which is most behind in terms of rolling out its 3G network initiated this complaint. It should also be noted that it has taken over a year to request these “urgent” conservative measures, which have finally been processed just before the end-of-year commercial period. Orange notes that the plaintiff, instead of offering genuine competition based on innovative offers, systematically turns to independent administrative authorities to maintain its privileged situation and curb commercial and marketing innovations offered by its competitors.
This decision is a serious blow. It calls into question the economic structure of the market and in particular, the different partnerships made between mobile operators and handset manufacturers working in the best interests of consumers and promoting innovation. By limiting all exclusive agreements to three months, operators will no longer be able to justify certain investments such as those made by Orange to launch the iPhone. These technical and commercial investments enabled Orange to offer a cutting-edge handset, coupled with innovative mobile Internet applications, to the wider public.
This decision, which will have a major impact on the market, was taken without any in-depth examination of the situation during a debate on conservatory measures. Unfortunately, this decision may have serious consequences on manufacturers, as well as their subcontractors and software suppliers, sectors that are already facing economic difficulties.
After one year of its exclusive partnership, Orange will have sold over 150,000 first generation iPhones and over 450,000 3G iPhones.
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