Orange France hit with €350 m fine for business market abuse

The French competition watchdog has imposed a €350 million fine on operator Orange for abusing its position to stifle competition in the business market over the last decade.

Specifically the offending unit is Orange Business Services, which used marketing programmes and tariff discounts to keep customers loyal in a way that is reminiscent of the behaviour Qualcomm is currently under investigation by the European Commission for, and which Intel was fine for a few years ago.

There was apparently also abuse on the fixed side regarding the copper local loop, where some information was withheld that damaged the ability of competitors using the network to properly market their services. This seems similar to some of the allegations being thrown at BT’s Openreach unit.

The French Autorité de la Concurrence, which levied the fine, said this sort of thing has been going on since the 2000s. It is also look for Orange to introduce measures to ensure there is no repeat and to safeguard competition in future. Orange has chosen not to dispute the fine, the findings or the required remedial measures.

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