Orange to lose Iliad wholesale roaming deal early

16 June 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Orange will stop providing wholesale roaming services to rival French mobile operator Iliad several years earlier than planned.

Under a deal signed in 2011 Orange was to provide 2G and 3G network coverage for Iliad, which runs the Free Mobile service in France, until 2020. Now the deal will be terminated from January 2017, the companies have decided. The two companies failed to agree a merger in April.

Now the two companies say they have signed an addendum to that 2011 agreement which “provides for Free Mobile to gradually stop using the Orange network for national roaming services in France”.

Iliad adds: “Free Mobile – which has respected its two main rollout obligations under its licence and has acquired a significant portfolio of frequencies – has invested massively in the rollout of its network and it now covers 84.5% of the French population for 3G and 68.3% for 4G.”

The companies said there would be a “progressive limitation of services by Free Mobile, from January 2017, for its customers roaming on Orange’s network”.

The French regulator Arcep will have to approve the agreement, said Iliad and Orange.