EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: France’s telecoms market is prime for consolidation with operators struggling to make the “right return” on their infrastructure investments, Orange deputy CEO Gervais Pellissier (pictured) told Mobile World Live.
Speaking at Mobile World Congress, Pellissier said France had the perfect macro-economic drivers to enable the type of consolidation seen in many other European markets to reduce the number of operators from four to three – and saw Orange attempt (and fail) to merge its service with Bouygues Telecom in 2016.
He said: “If you look at the French market, it’s still very agitated by the fact that it’s very difficult to make the right return on infrastructure with four [separate deployments of] mobile infrastructure and four mobile operators.”
While operators hold some network sharing deals, these typically cover rural areas where the detrimental impact on competition is outweighed by the benefit of added coverage.
“The macro-economic drivers to consolidation are there to get a better share between investment and future investment and return to consumers. The basic conditions are there, the willingness of the players is something else,” Pellissier commented.
He added the sheer number of operators across Europe proved a handicap for the industry. Currently, Orange can provide services to around 40 per cent of the market in the EU. In the future Pellissier expects the company will have to further increase the number of consumers it can access across Europe to preserve being “European champions”.
During the interview, Pellissier also discussed the importance of the company’s dual fibre-mobile strategy, and his views on the EU’s ambitious plans for 5G.
To view the complete video interview click here.