Published in Mobiles

French coppers to police 4G

We don’t want any roast beef eating rubbish service

Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau will get a new job checking that French 4G service providers are not serving up a rubbish service. Low-cost operator Iliad this month added 4G service to its Free Mobile offers without raising the price, putting pressure on leading telecoms companies Orange, Vivendi's SFR and Bouygues Telecom to follow suit with competitive offers.

But this has also meant a handbags at dawn war between the telcos. Orange chief executive Stephane Richard accusing Iliad of compromising quality on its 4G service. Iliad is still building its mobile network and had 700 mobile antennas capable of handling 4G speeds as of December 1.

The minister, Fleur Pelleting, said the government would act to ensure that the telecom regulator Arches regained the power to enforce quality standards. Recently a Constitutional Court ruling prevented it from imposing penalties. She told Le Parisian daily that the government wanted to give the telecoms policeman his stick back.

The Iliad offer has led to a price war as well as a war of words among the telecom operators. Orange said some of its customers would get 4G wireless at no additional charge, shortly after smaller rival Bouygues extended the same offer to its low-cost subscription plan.

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