French challenger operator Free Mobile continued its battle against handset subsidies by taking Orange to court over its practices, Les Echos reported.
Earlier this year Free, a subsidiary of Iliad, picked up a victory in a legal battle over the status of handset subsidies as a form of consumer credit. Such deals lock customers into a long-term arrangement with an operator.
The operator is targeting Orange, the biggest player in the market, having already had a run-in with second-placed SFR. Iliad founder Xavier Niel said the two, along with peer Bouygues Telecom, had provided “tens of millions” in credit to customers, the newspaper said.
Free offers consumers SIM-only contracts, with devices available on instalment plans, rather than bundling the two into an integrated package. Customers locked into long-term deals are a segment of the market the disruptive operator is unable to target.