Orange's Richard predicts end to France’s price war

Stephane Richard, chief executive at Orange, has told reporters that he sees an end to the price war in France’s national telecoms sector.

The country has been locked in a price war since 2012 when Iliad entered the mobile market and forced rivals to lower their prices to compete with its low cost deals.

Richard said prices have fallen by around 45% over the past three years as a result, but now believes that the country is on the way out of the decline.

“In France we have among the lowest prices in the world for both fixed and mobile telecoms,” he said in a radio interview.

“Let’s be realistic; saying that prices will continue to decline in the coming years, it’s insane.”

The price war has also initiated consolidation talks, and Richard said that the country would function better with fewer players.  

“I think that a well-regulated market with three operators would function very well,” he said. “With four operators it can operate but it’s more complicated and it will require cooperation between operators.”

Orange, as well as the French government, called for further consolidation in the country in May last year, and also said that it may look again at consolidation once its completes its sale of EE to the UK’s BT.

Bouygues Telecom is seemingly the main target in the consolidation attempts, with rumours of an acquisition by Iliad denied in November 2014, and Altice allegedly planning an acquisition for the company in February this year.