A return to three operators finally impossible according to Orange and Bouygues Telecom


The bosses of Orange and Bouygues Telecom still want a return to three operators, but negotiations are at a standstill and the two businessmen no longer really believe.
Stéphane Richard, Orange
This is a story that is heard regularly: many market players are eager to return to a market with three telecom operators. Such a process would necessarily require that one of the players involved, Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR or Free, absorbs another.
And that's the rub. No one really wants to take the first step or make too many concessions. Let's summarize this briefly: in 2018, Free announced not wanting to trigger the return to three operators, but the company Xavier Niel and SFR would have tried to get closer in January. The operator at the red square thought that a consolidation could take place quickly.
This opinion was so far shared by Orange. Citrus has always called for a return to three operators. You will understand, there have been statements in shambles, but still nothing concrete. And today, the tone is rather defeatist.
Orange no longer believes
After the publication of the quarterly financial results of its group, the CEO of Orange Stéphane Richard said that "the level of hope that the consolidation is done in France has declined, it is regrettable, but it is indisputable". Quoted by Les Echos, the boss of the incumbent operator explains that a consolidation would have greatly benefited his company. "It is clear that if we could consolidate the market in France, Orange would not have the same level of valuation today," he says.
At the same time, Martin Bouygues says for his part that there is no negotiation in progress. In particular, he recounts that Patrick Drahi recently refused to sell him SFR: "we had differences over everything, the purpose, the price …".
Around the 5G
Les Echos also recalls that at the end of 2019, during the sale of 5G frequencies in France, the four operators will no longer have the right to alliances of this type for several months. If a consolidation is to take place, it has an interest to intervene before this deadline because it would help to mitigate some of the costs of installing the infrastructure.
If two operators manage to agree, the consolidation should be very favorable for companies. However, there are concerns about the consequences for consumers who might see prices rise. And this, even if Martin Bouygues recalls that "four players cost more than three to the consumer, because four networks to 10 billion is more expensive to amortize than three networks to 10 billion."
    
    
        
    
    

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