Vivendi complains about France Télécom

The war between Vivendi/Canal+ and the France Télécom/Orange group is continuing, moving back now into the telecoms arena after a recent television victory.

At the presentation of its 2008 results, Vivendi, which owns the SFR mobile operator and internet access provider, said that it was to file a complaint to the EC against main competitor France Télécom (Orange) for an abuse of dominant position. The complaint concerns subscription and network access fees.

To offer broadband internet access to customers, alternative operators must use France Télécom’s network, as the incumbent operator. And the price is judged by Vivendi to be excessive.

The action comes after SFR and Free won a court action last month which will force Orange to stop tying its Orange Sport channel to the sale of a triple-play offer. Orange must make its premium channel available to all TV platforms.

SFR, a Vivendi subs, generated €11.5 bn revenues in 2008, up 28.1% the group announced on Monday. This was due to the consolidation of Neuf Cegetel in April 2008 and of the fixed and ADSL operations of Tele2 France in July 2007. On a comparable basis, without the integration of Neuf Cegetel and Tele2 France, SFR’s revenues grew just 1.2%.

Over one year, SFR recruited 886,000 new mobile customers to reach 19.65 million and increased mobile revenues up 2.2% at €8. 5 bn. 3G custormers reached 5.9 million at the end of December compared to 4.1 million one year before. Broadband internet and fixed revenues reached €2.8 bn, down 0.2% compared to 2007. Last year, SFR’s broadband customer base increased 7.7% to reach 3.8 million customers.

SFR’s EBITDA was €3.9 bn and EBITA €2.5 bn respectively increasing by €12 million and decreasing by €143 million compared to 2007 on a comparable basis.