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Orange and Free fail to agree on network sharing

French MNOs Orange and Free Mobile have been chatting about forming a network sharing agreement, but it came to nothing.

Having dropped a serious chunk of change on 5G spectrum late last year, the two MNOs thought it might be an idea to pool their resources on the 5G rollout. Such network sharing agreements are already in place in many other countries, including the UK, and it makes sense not to duplicate your efforts.

However, it looks like the two companies pouted and shrugged at each other for so long that Orange decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. “Following the 5G auction that took place last October, Orange and Free have held discussions with a view to reaching a mobile network sharing agreement in France,” said an Orange announcement. Given a divergence in deployment strategy, Orange has decided to end these discussions.”

Maybe the public dissing of the new head of French telecoms regulator Arcep by Xavier Neil for the crime of having previously worked for Orange was also a contributing factor. Neil is the founder of Iliad, the parent company of Free Mobile, and his moaning can’t have improved the atmosphere in the negotiations. You’re on your own now, son.

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