French telecoms giant Orange announced late last week that it would be ending discussions with Free Mobile with regards to setting up a mobile network sharing agreement, citing a divergence in deployment strategy.
“Given a divergence in deployment strategy, Orange has decided to end these discussions. For Orange, the quality of its networks is a priority. Its mobile network in France was ranked best mobile network in France for the 10th consecutive year by ARCEP. The Group is also fully committed to the deployment of fibre in France, providing two-thirds of the 24 million connectable homes that have already been built,” read the entire statement by the French telco.
Talk between both operators had initially started late last year during the country’s 5G spectrum auction, in an attempt to leverage both of their resources to establish a stronger fifth generation rollout. Agreements such as these are common within the telecom industry and are already in placed in many countries.
Many analysts have attributed the failure of the deal to the scorching words said by Free Mobile’s founder Xavier Neil during an online conference organized by the Association of Economic and Financial Journalists (Ajef).
“Between the day we went public, in 2004, and today, Orange’s price has been halved. Ours has been multiplied by ten. There is a management problem at Orange. As a competitor, I find Stéphane Richard – CEO of Orange – to be a very good manager. As a French citizen and taxpayer, I am a little less sure…” Niel was quoted as saying.