SFR, Bouygues seal network-sharing deal for France's quiet corners

SFR, Bouygues seal network-sharing deal for France's quiet corners

Summary: France's second- and third-biggest mobile network operators have signed an agreement to share their mobile networks outside of major towns and cities.

TOPICS: Networking, Mobility, EU

Two of France's largest mobile operators have signed a deal to share each other's networks. 

Bouygues Telecom and SFR announced on Friday that they will share their existing 2G, 3G and 4G networks in non-urban areas, and will create a joint venture to manage their shared base stations and other network infrastructure.

The joint venture should be up and running from 2017, and will be in charge of a mobile network covering 57 percent of the French population. SFR and Bouygues will remain in charge of their own separate mobile networks in the 32 of France's urban areas.

The deal will mean Bouygues and SFR can "improve their mobile coverage and generate significant savings", according to the two companies. No further details on the level of savings were given.

"Each operator will retain its own innovation capacity, as well as complete commercial and pricing independence, and will carry on offering distinctive services thanks to continued control over their network backbone and frequencies," the companies said. 

Talks over a potential network-sharing deal began in July last year, and were pitched by the companies as a way of helping speed up the rollout of France's 4G networks, and helping both carriers deal with "profound changes in the mobile market" — a reference to the recent arrival of upstart Free.

SFR, France's second largest carrier, has 21 million mobile customers, while third-placed Bouygues has 11.1 million.

More on mobile in France

Topics: Networking, Mobility, EU

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  • Jo Best

    Get your avatar/pic photo-shopped.....the color of your skin under your eyes is terrible babe!
  • Well..

    All things considered, this agreement seems similar to that which BellSouth and SBC inked to create Cingular in the US.

    That agreement worked well for them. At one point, the FCC issued a statement saying "We'd likely a problem having the nation's #2 and #3 wireless companies merge". Six months later, the US President, George W Bush appointed a new FCC chairman. So, that problem also disappeared like Alberto Gonzales. SBC/Cingular were allowed to merge.

    At this point of time, AT&T CEO, and Texas Rancher, Stan Sigman was a member of NSTAC, a US Safety and Security Board, part of Department of Homeland Security. Stan Sigman was appointed to the NSTAC by Nutsack George W. Bush.