Technology, Media and Telecommunications Review – France
The French regulatory framework is still based on the historical distinction between telecoms and postal activities, on the one hand, and radio and television activities, on the other hand (sectors are still governed by separate legislation and by separate regulators). Amendments in the past 15 years reflect the progress and the convergence of electronic communications, media and technologies; and the liberalisation of the TMT sectors caused by the de facto competition between fixed telephony (a monopoly until 1998) and new technologies of terrestrial, satellite and internet networks. French law also mirrors the EU regulatory framework through the enactment of the three EU Telecoms Packages in 1996, 2002 and 2009, which have been fully transposed into French law.
Please see full Chapter below for more information.
Law Business Research
John P Janka
The Technology, Media and
The Technology, Media and Telecommunications Review
Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd.
This article was first published in The Technology, Media and
Telecommunications Review – Edition 6
(published in November 2015 – editor John Janka)
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John P Janka
Law Business Research Ltd
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Editor’s Preface ……………………………………………………………………………………..vii
John P Janka
List of Abbreviations …………………………………………………………………………………….ix
Chapter 1 COMPETITION LAW OVERVIEW ………………………………… 1
Abbott B Lipsky, Jr and John D Colahan
Chapter 2 AUSTRALIA …………………………………………………………………. 16
Angus Henderson, Raymond Roca and Capucine Hague
Chapter 3 BRAZIL………………………………………………………………………… 30
André Gomes de Oliveira, Renato Parreira Stetner and
Tiago Franco da Silva Gomes
Chapter 4 CANADA …………………………………………………………………….. 41
Theo Ling, Ricard Pochkhanawala, Jonathan Tam and
Chapter 5 CHINA ………………………………………………………………………… 58
Chapter 6 EU OVERVIEW ……………………………………………………………. 71
Maurits J F M Dolmans, Francesco Maria Salerno and
Chapter 7 FRANCE ………………………………………………………………………. 89
Myria Saarinen and Jean-Luc Juhan
Chapter 8 GERMANY …………………………………………………………………. 107
Chapter 9 GREECE …………………………………………………………………….. 124
Anna Manda and Valia Apostolopoulou
Chapter 10 HONG KONG ……………………………………………………………. 142
Simon Powell and Chi Ho Kwan
Chapter 11 INDIA ………………………………………………………………………… 158
Atul Dua and Arjun Uppal
Chapter 12 INDONESIA ………………………………………………………………. 173
Agus Ahadi Deradjat and Kevin Omar Sidharta
Chapter 13 JAPAN ………………………………………………………………………… 187
Hiroki Kobayashi, Saori Kawakami, Daniel Senger and
Chapter 14 KAZAKHSTAN …………………………………………………………… 203
Yerzhan Yessimkhanov and Assel Kalmagambetova
Chapter 15 KOREA ………………………………………………………………………. 215
Wonil Kim and Kwang-Wook Lee
Chapter 16 LEBANON …………………………………………………………………. 227
Souraya Machnouk, Joy Lahoud and Ziad Maatouk
Chapter 17 LUXEMBOURG …………………………………………………………. 240
Chapter 18 MEXICO ……………………………………………………………………. 261
Jaime Deschamps and Andoni Zurita
Chapter 19 NIGERIA ……………………………………………………………………. 271
Ebunoluwa Awosika and Olumide K Obayemi
Chapter 20 POLAND ……………………………………………………………………. 284
Tomasz Koryzma, Agnieszka Besiekierska and Marcin Lewoszewski
Chapter 21 PORTUGAL ……………………………………………………………….. 294
Jaime Medeiros and Mónica Oliveira Costa
Chapter 22 RUSSIA ………………………………………………………………………. 307
Maxim Boulba and Elena Andrianova
Chapter 23 SINGAPORE ………………………………………………………………. 318
Ken Chia and Seng Yi Lin
Chapter 24 SPAIN ………………………………………………………………………… 341
Chapter 25 SWITZERLAND ………………………………………………………… 354
Chapter 26 TAIWAN …………………………………………………………………….. 370
Arthur Shay and David Yeh
Chapter 27 TURKEY …………………………………………………………………….. 384
Burçak Ünsal and Okan Gündüz
Chapter 28 UNITED KINGDOM …………………………………………………. 399
Omar Shah and Gail Crawford
Chapter 29 UNITED STATES ……………………………………………………….. 434
John P Janka and Jarrett S Taubman
Chapter 30 UZBEKISTAN …………………………………………………………….. 455
Appendix 1 ABOUT THE AUTHORS ……………………………………………. 467
Appendix 2 CONTRIBUTING LAW FIRMS’ CONTACT DETAILS … 489
This fully updated sixth edition of The Technology, Media and Telecommunications Review
provides an overview of the evolving legal constructs relevant to both existing service
providers and start-ups in 29 jurisdictions around the world. It is intended as a business-
focused framework for beginning to examine evolving law and policy in the rapidly
changing TMT sector.
The burgeoning demand for broadband service, and for radio spectrum-based
communications in particular, continues to drive law and policy in the TMT sector. The
disruptive effect of these new ways of communicating creates similar challenges around the
a the need to facilitate the deployment of state-of-the-art communications
infrastructure to all citizens;
b the reality that access to the global capital market is essential to finance that
c the need to use the limited radio spectrum more efficiently than before;
d the delicate balance between allowing network operators to obtain a fair return
on their assets and ensuring that those networks do not become bottlenecks that
stifle innovation or consumer choice; and
e the growing influence of the ‘new media’ conglomerates that result from increasing
consolidation and convergence.
A global focus exists on making radio spectrum available for a host of new demands, such
as the developing ‘Internet of Things,’ broadband service to aeroplanes and vessels, and
the as yet undefined, next-generation wireless technology referred to as ‘5G’. This process
involves ‘refarming’ existing bands, so that new services and technologies can access
spectrum previously set aside for businesses that either never developed or no longer have
the same spectrum needs. In many cases, an important first step will occur at the World
Radiocommunication Conference in November 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland, where
countries from around the world will participate in a process that sets the stage for these
new applications. No doubt, this conference will lead to changes in long-standing radio
spectrum allocations that have not kept up with advances in technology, and it should
also address the flexible ways that new technologies allow many different services to co-
exist in the same segment of spectrum.
Many telecommunications networks once designed primarily for voice are now
antiquated and not suitable for the interactive broadband applications that can extend
economic benefits, educational opportunities and medical services throughout a nation. As
a result, many governments are investing in or subsidising broadband networks to ensure
that their citizens can participate in the global economy, and have universal access to the
vital information, entertainment and educational services now delivered over broadband.
Governments are also re-evaluating how to regulate broadband providers, whose networks
have become essential to almost every citizen. Convergence, vertical integration and
consolidation are also leading to increased focus on competition and, in some cases, to
changes in the government bodies responsible for monitoring and managing competition
in the TMT sector.
Changes in the TMT ecosystem, including the increased reliance by content
providers on broadband for video distribution, have also led to a policy focus on ‘network
neutrality’ – the goal of providing some type of stability for the provision of important
communications services on which almost everyone relies, while also addressing the
opportunities for mischief that can arise when market forces work unchecked. While the
stated goals of that policy focus are laudable, the way in which resulting law and regulation
are implemented can have profound effects on the balance of power in the sector, and raises
important questions about who should bear the burden of expanding broadband networks
to accommodate the capacity strains created by content providers.
These continuing developments around the world are described in the following
chapters, as well as the developing liberalisation of foreign ownership restrictions, efforts
to ensure consumer privacy and data protection, and measures to ensure national security
and facilitate law enforcement. Many tensions exist among the policy goals that underlie
the resulting changes in the law. Moreover, cultural and political considerations often drive
different responses at the national and the regional level, even though the global TMT
marketplace creates a common set of issues.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the contributors for their
insightful contributions to this publication and I hope you will find this global survey a
useful starting point in your review and analysis of these fascinating developments in the
John P Janka
Latham & Watkins LLP
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
3G Third-generation (mobile wireless technology)
4G Fourth-generation (mobile wireless technology)
5G Fifth-generation (mobile wireless technology)
ADSL Asymmetric digital subscriber line
AMPS Advanced mobile phone system
ARPU Average revenue per user
BIAP Broadband internet access provider
BWA Broadband wireless access
CATV Cable TV
CDMA Code division multiple access
CMTS Cellular mobile telephone system
DAB Digital audio broadcasting
DECT Digital enhanced cordless telecommunications
DDoS Distributed denial-of-service
DSL Digital subscriber line
DTTV Digital terrestrial TV
DVB Digital video broadcast
DVB-H Digital video broadcast – handheld
DVB-T Digital video broadcast – terrestrial
ECN Electronic communications network
ECS Electronic communications service
EDGE Enhanced data rates for GSM evolution
FAC Full allocated historical cost
FBO Facilities-based operator
FCL Fixed carrier licence
FTNS Fixed telecommunications network services
FTTC Fibre to the curb
FTTH Fibre to the home
FTTN Fibre to the node
FTTx Fibre to the x
FWA Fixed wireless access
Gb/s Gigabits per second
GB/s Gigabytes per second
GSM Global system for mobile communications
HDTV High-definition TV
HITS Headend in the sky
HSPA High-speed packet access
IaaS Infrastructure as a service
IAC Internet access provider
ICP Internet content provider
ICT Information and communications technology
IPTV Internet protocol TV
IPv6 Internet protocol version 6
ISP Internet service provider
kb/s Kilobits per second
kB/s Kilobytes per second
LAN Local area network
LRIC Long-run incremental cost
LTE Long Term Evolution (4G technology for both GSM and
CDMA cellular carriers)
Mb/s Megabits per second
MB/s Megabytes per second
MMDS Multichannel multipoint distribution service
MMS Multimedia messaging service
MNO Mobile network operator
MSO Multi-system operators
MVNO Mobile virtual network operator
MWA Mobile wireless access
NFC Near field communication
NGA Next-generation access
NIC Network information centre
NRA National regulatory authority
OTT Over-the-top (providers)
PaaS Platform as a service
PNETS Public non-exclusive telecommunications service
PSTN Public switched telephone network
RF Radio frequency
SaaS Software as a service
SBO Services-based operator
SMS Short message service
STD–PCOs Subscriber trunk dialling–public call offices
UAS Unified access services
List of Abbreviations
UASL Unified access services licence
UCL Unified carrier licence
UHF Ultra-high frequency
UMTS Universal mobile telecommunications service
USO Universal service obligation
VDSL Very high speed digital subscriber line
VHF Very high frequency
VOD Video on demand
VoB Voice over broadband
VoIP Voice over internet protocol
W-CDMA Wideband code division multiple access
WiMAX Worldwide interoperability for microwave access
List of Abbreviations
Myria Saarinen and Jean-Luc Juhan1
The French regulatory framework is still based on the historical distinction between
telecoms and postal activities, on the one hand, and radio and television activities, on the
other hand (sectors are still governed by separate legislation and by separate regulators).
Amendments in the past 15 years reflect the progress and the convergence of electronic
communications, media and technologies; and the liberalisation of the TMT sectors
caused by the de facto competition between fixed telephony (a monopoly until 1998) and
new technologies of terrestrial, satellite and internet networks. French law also mirrors
the EU regulatory framework through the enactment of the three EU Telecoms Packages
in 1996, 2002 and 2009, which have been fully transposed into French law.
The TMT sectors in France have been fully open to competition since
1 January 1998, and are characterised by the interactions of mandatory provisions
originating from many sources and involving many actors (regulators, telecoms operators,
and local, regional and national authorities). The TMT sectors are key to the French
economy, and 2014 was once again an important year in many respects for these sectors’
The major trends in the telecommunications and internet sectors in 2014 were the
acceleration in the transition to superfast broadband on both fixed and mobile networks,
both in terms of coverage and subscription numbers; the growing reconfiguration of
the sector, brought in particular by Altice’s acquisition of SFR, France’s second-largest
mobile operator; and the legislative intervention on data protection and security through
1 Myria Saarinen and Jean-Luc Juhan are partners at Latham & Watkins. This chapter was
written with contributions from associates Clémence Macé de Gastines and Oriane Fauré.
Law No. 2015-912 of 24 July 2015 and Law No. 2014-1353 of 13 November 2014.2
Wholesale and retail electronic communications markets in France generated €36.8 billion
in revenue, marking the fourth consecutive annual decrease. 2014 was, however, marked
by a much less significant downward trend in revenues (-3.4 per cent in 2014 against
-7.3 per cent in 2013), and in particular in the mobile services sector, due to a less marked
drop in prices coupled with an increase in volume of subscriptions and communications.
Operators invested €6.9 billion in 2014, increasing their investments particularly in the
deployment of fibre networks (€1 billion spent in 2014), in addition to continuing to
invest in the deployment of 4G mobile networks.3
In 2014, media markets were marked by an emphasis on diversity, in particular
towards better representation in the media of women and people with disabilities.4
i The regulators
There are four specialist authorities involved in the regulation of technology, media and
telecommunications in France:
a ARCEP is an independent government agency that oversees the electronic
communications and postal services sector. It ensures the implementation of a
universal service, imposes requirements upon operators that exert a significant
influence in the context of market analyses, participates in defining the regulatory
framework, allocates finite resources (radio frequencies and numbers), imposes
sanctions,5 resolves disputes and delivers authorisations for postal activities.
2 Law No. 2015-912 of 24 July 2015 on intelligence and Law No. 2014-1353 of
13 November 2014 reinforcing the dispositions related to the fight against terrorism.
3 Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority (ARCEP) Annual Report,
4 See Law No. 2014-873 of 4 August 2014 for real equity between women and men, and
Charter of 11 February 2014 aimed at supporting the training and employment of people
with disabilities in the audiovisual communication sector (available at en.www.csa.fre05d.
5 ARCEP’s sanctioning power was restored by Order No. 2014-329 of 12 March 2014 on
the Digital Economy after the French Constitutional Council ruled that the legal provisions
contained in the Post and Electronic Communications Code (CPCE) governing ARCEP’s
power to sanction were unconstitutional as they did not comply with the principle of
impartiality (see Constitutional Council, Decision No. 2013-331 QPC of 5 July 2013). The
new provisions in the CPCE introduce a separation of the proceedings and the adjudication
functions by assigning them to different members of the ARCEP Board (see new Articles
L5-3, L36-11 and L130 of the CPCE). The terms of application for this new sanctions
procedure are specified in Decree No. 2014-867 of 1 August 2014 (see new Articles D594 to
D599 of the CPCE).
b The Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) is the regulatory authority responsible
for the audiovisual sector. The CSA sets rules on broadcasting content and
allocates frequencies by granting licences to radio and television operators. It
also settles disputes that may arise between TV channels and their distributors,
and is empowered to impose sanctions on operators in cases of breaches of
specific regulations. Law No. 2013-1028 of 15 November 2013 relating to the
independence of the French public service broadcasting has amended the legal
nature of the CSA, its composition, the status and appointment procedure of its
members and their powers (see Section IV.i, infra).
c The Data Protection Authority (CNIL) ensures the protection of personal data.
Automatic personal data processing systems must be declared to the CNIL. The
CNIL also supervises compliance with the law by inspecting IT systems and
applications, and is empowered to issue sanctions that range from warnings to
d The High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of
copyright on the Internet (HADOPI), which was established in 2009, is in charge
of protecting intellectual property rights over works of art and literature on the
These four authorities may deliver opinions upon request by the government, parliament
or other independent administrative authorities such as the French Competition
Authority (FCA), and also renders decisions and opinions that may have a structural
impact on these sectors (except for HADOPI). The National Frequencies Agency is also
an important agency responsible for managing frequency spectrum and planning its use
(see Section IV, infra).
The CSA and ARCEP are the two main regulators of the TMT sectors. Discussions
about merging these entities at the time of the convergence or to limit the powers of
ARCEP occurred regularly during the past few years, but such merger was finally given
up. Instead, it was argued that the two regulators should work in closer cooperation on
certain common subjects.
The prevailing regulatory regime in France regarding electronic communications
is contained primarily in the CPCE, and regarding audiovisual communications in Law
No. 86-1067 of 30 September 1986 on Freedom to Communicate, as subsequently
amended. The main piece of legislation governing the law applicable to data protection
is Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on Information Technology, Data Files and Civil
Liberties, as subsequently amended. Intellectual property rights are governed by the
Intellectual Property Code.
ii Regulated activities
Telecoms activities and related authorisations and licences are regulated under the CPCE.
To become a telecoms operator, no specific licences or authorisations are required;
the implementation and the operation of public networks and the supply of electronic
communication services to the public is free, subject to prior notification to ARCEP
(Articles L32-1 and L33-1 of the CPCE).
Conversely, the use of radio frequencies requires a licence granted by ARCEP
(Article L42-1 of the CPCE).
Authorisations and licensing in the media sector are regulated under Law No. 86-1067 of
30 September 1986.
Authorisations for private television and radio broadcasting on the hertz-based
terrestrial frequencies are granted by the CSA following bid tenders and subject to the
conclusion of an agreement with the CSA. The term of authorisations cannot exceed
10 years.6 Broadcasting services that are not subject to CSA’s authorisation – namely,
those broadcast or distributed through a network that does not use frequencies allocated
by the CSA (cable, satellite, ADSL, internet, telephony, etc.) – are nevertheless subject to
a standard agreement or a declaration regime.7
iii Ownership and market access restrictions
General regulation of foreign investment
Since the entry into force of Law No. 2004-669 of 9 July 2004, discrimination of non-EU
operators is prohibited, and they are subject to the same rights and obligations as EU
and national operators.8 According to Article L151-1 et seq. of the French Monetary and
Financial Code, when a foreign (EU or non-EU) investment is made in a strategic sector
(such as security, public defence, cryptographics or interception of correspondence),9 the
investor must submit a formal application dossier to the French Ministry of Economy for
prior authorisation. Any transaction concluded without prior authorisation is null and
void, and criminal sanctions (imprisonment of five years and a fine amounting to twice
the amount of the transaction) are also applicable. A recent decree of 14 May 201410 has
expanded the list of sectors in which foreign investors must seek prior authorisation from
the French Ministry of Economy. In particular, the decree has added to the regulated
activities referred to in Article R153-2 of the French Monetary and Financial Code
activities relating to the integrity, security and continuity of the operation of networks
and electronic communications services.
Specific ownership restrictions applicable to the media sector
French regulations provide for media ownership restrictions to preserve media pluralism
and competition. In particular, any single individual or legal entity cannot hold, directly
or indirectly, more than 49 per cent of the capital or the voting rights of a company
that has an authorisation to provide a national terrestrial television service where the
average audience for television services (either digital or analogue) exceeds 8 per cent.
6 See Articles 28 to 32 of the Law of 30 September 1986 that determine the CSA’s allocation
7 Articles 33 to 34-5 of the Law of 30 September 1986.
8 Article L33-1 III of the CPCE.
9 Article R153-2 of the French Monetary and Financial Code.
10 Decree No. 2014-479 of 14 May 2014.
In addition, any single individual or legal entity that already holds a national terrestrial
television service where the average audience for this service exceeds 8 per cent may not,
directly or indirectly, hold more than 33 per cent of the capital or voting rights of a
company that has an authorisation to provide a local terrestrial television service.11
Regarding the radio sector, a single person cannot retain networks whose coverage
exceeds 150 million inhabitants or 20 per cent of the aggregated potential audience.12
This regulation will, however, be subject to modification in the future, as it is does not
take into account local pluralism challenges. In this respect, a report was submitted to
parliament by the CSA in April 2014.13
Further, unless otherwise agreed in international agreements to which France is
a party, a foreign national may not acquire shares in a company holding a licence for a
radio or television service in France and that uses radio frequencies if this acquisition has
the effect of raising (directly or indirectly) the share of capital or voting rights owned
by foreign nationals to more than 20 per cent. This provision does not apply to service
providers of which at least 80 per cent of the capital or voting rights are held by public
radio broadcasters belonging to Council of Europe Member States, and of which at least
20 per cent is owned by one of the public companies mentioned in Article 44 of the Law
of 30 September 1986.14 Specific rules restricting cross-media ownership also apply.15
iv Transfers of control and assignments
The general French merger control framework applies to the TMT sectors, without
prejudice to the above-mentioned ownership restrictions and to specific provisions for
the media sector. The merger control rules are enforced by the FCA.16
Regarding the telecoms and post sectors, the FCA must provide ARCEP with
any referrals regarding merger control, and ARCEP can issue a non-binding opinion.17
11 Articles 39-I and 39-III of the Law of 30 September 1986.
12 Article 41 of the Law of 30 September 1986.
13 Available at www.csa.fr/Etudes-et-publications/Les-autres-rapports/Rapport-du-CSA-sur-la-
14 Article 40 of the Law of 30 September 1986.
15 Articles 41-1 to 41-2-1 of the Law of 30 September 1986.
16 For recent examples of mergers in the TMT sectors, see FCA Decision of 2 April 2014 No.
14-DCC-50, in which the FCA ruled again on the acquisition of D8 and D17 (formerly
Direct 8 and Direct Star) by Canal Plus group after the decision was quashed by the Council
of State (the highest French administrative court), and cleared the transaction subject to
several commitments; see also Decisions of 30 October 2014 No. 14-DCC-160 and of
27 November 2014 No. 14-DCC-179 regarding a series of acquisitions by the Altice group in
the telecommunications sector (respectively of SFR, France’s second-largest mobile operator,
and Omer Telecom Limited, telecoms operator in France under the brand name Virgin
17 Article L36-10 of the CPCE.
Regarding companies active in the radio or TV sector involved in a Phase II
merger control procedure before the FCA, the FCA must obtain a non-binding opinion
from the CSA.18
Any modification to the capital of companies authorised by the CSA to broadcast
TV or radio services on a frequency is subject to the approval of the CSA.19
III TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INTERNET ACCESS
i Internet and internet protocol regulation
Under the CPCE, electronic communications services other than voice telephony to the
public may be provided freely.20
As regards the ADSL network, and following local loop unbundling, alternative
operators must be provided with direct access to the copper pair infrastructure of France
Télécom, the historical operator. Therefore, as with traditional fixed telephony, DSL
networks are subject to asymmetrical regulation.
As regards services, ISPs can operate freely and provide services, but they must file
a declaration with ARCEP before commencing operations.21 A failure to comply with
this obligation constitutes a criminal offence.22
More generally, ISPs must comply with the provisions of Law No. 2004-575 of
21 June 2004 on Confidence in the Digital Economy governing e-commerce, encryption
and liability of technical service providers, as subsequently amended. Law No.
2004-575 of 21 June 2004 also sets out a liability exemption regime for hosting service
providers. They are not subject to a general obligation to monitor the information they
transmit or store, nor are they obliged to look for facts or circumstances indicating illicit
activity. Nevertheless, when the provider becomes aware that the data stored is obviously
illicit, it has the obligation to remove the data or render its access impossible. In that
respect, the question of the qualification as ‘host provider’ has been widely debated by
18 Article 41-4 of the Law of 30 September 1986.
19 Article 42-3 of the Law of 30 September 1986.
20 Article L32-1 of the CPCE.
21 Article L33-1 of the CPCE.
22 Article L39 of the CPCE. This risk is not theoretical: in March 2013, ARCEP informed the
Paris Public Prosecutor of Skype’s possible failure to comply with its obligation to declare
itself as an electronic communications operator in France. According to ARCEP, most, if not
all, of the services that Skype provides relate to electronic communications; this does seem to
be the case for the service that allows internet users located in France to call fixed and mobile
numbers in France and around the world using their computer or smartphone. As a result,
ARCEP has requested several times that Skype declare itself as an electronic communications
operator, which the company has so far failed to do.
23 This issue now seems resolved regarding video-sharing sites: see, for instance, the judgment
of the French Supreme Court (Cass. civ. 1ère, 17 February 2011, No. 09-67896, Joyeux Noël)
in which the Supreme Court recognised a simple hosting status for Dailymotion. This issue
ii Universal service
The EU framework for universal services obligations, which defines universal services
as the ‘minimum set of services of specified quality to which all end users have access,
at an affordable price in the light of specific national conditions, without distorting
competition’,24 has been implemented by Law No. 96-659 of 26 July 1996 and further
strengthened by Law No. 2008-3 of 3 January 2008. Universal service is one of the
three components of public service in the telecoms sector in France (the other two being
the supply of mandatory services for electronic communications and general interest
Obligations of the operator in charge of universal service are listed in Article
L35-1 of the CPCE and fall into two main categories of services:
a telephone services: connection to an affordable public telephone network enabling
end-users to take charge of voice communications, facsimile communications and
data communications at data rates that are sufficient to permit functional internet
access and free emergency calls; and
b enquiry and directory services (both in printed and electronic versions).
These services must be rendered under tariff and technical conditions that take into
consideration the difficulties faced by some users, such as users with low incomes, and
that do not discriminate between users on the ground of their geographical location.
The designation of the operator or operators in charge of universal service is made
by the Minister in charge of electronic communications following calls for applications
(one per category). So far, only France Télécom-Orange has been selected as an operator
guaranteeing the provision of universal services.
Universal service currently only covers telephone provision and not information
technologies. However, in Opinion No. 11-A-10 of 29 June 2011, the FCA considered
that the reduced price policy (also called the ‘social tariff’) set up for telephone networks,
is still to be debated with respect to online marketplaces such as eBay from which it follows
that French courts, which are favouring a very factual analysis of the role of the services
provider, will give significant importance to judges’ discretion. In that respect, see Cass.
Com, 3 May 2012, No. 11-10.507, Christian Dior Couture, No. 11-10.505, Louis Vuitton
Malletier and No. 11-10.508, Parfums Christian Dior, in which the Supreme Court confirmed
an earlier decision of the Paris Court of Appeals that did not consider eBay as a ‘host
provider’, and therefore refused to apply the liability-exemption regime. See, in contrast, the
Brocanteurs v. eBay case, Paris Court of Appeals, Pôle 5, ch. 1, 4 April 2012, No. 10-00.878,
in which second-hand and antique dealers accused eBay of encouraging illegal practices
by providing individuals with the means to compete unfairly against professionals, and in
which the Paris Court of Appeals considered eBay as a host provider able to benefit from the
liability-exemption regime. The Court of Appeals based its decision on the fact that eBay had
no knowledge or control of the adverts stored on its site. If the seller was asked to provide
certain information, it was for the purpose of ensuring a more secure relationship between its
24 Article 1(2) of Directive No. 2002/22/EC.
pursuant to universal service rules, might be extended to internet services even though
the EU Telecoms Package does not expressly allow for the inclusion of such in the
universal service. In the absence of regulation, France Télécom-Orange launched a ‘social
tariff’ for multi-service offers (telephone and internet) on 9 February 2012.
ARCEP determines the cost of universal service and, when it is necessary to
finance it in the event that it represents an excessive burden for the operator in charge,
ARCEP also determines the amount of the other operators’ contributions to the financing
of universal service obligations through a sectoral fund. In principle, every operator
contributes to the financing, with each contribution being calculated on the basis of the
turnover realised by the operators in their electronic communications activities.25
iii Restrictions on the provision of service
Net neutrality is a growing policy concern in France.26 From the electronic communications
regulator’s standpoint, which focuses on the technical and economic conditions of traffic
conveyance on the internet, the key question in the debate over net neutrality is how
much control internet stakeholders can rightfully exert over the traffic. This implies
examining operators’ practices on their networks, as well as their relationships with some
content and application providers.
In that respect, ARCEP started discussions on net neutrality in 2010 that led
to the issuance of 10 proposals to ensure the internet’s smooth operation and balanced
development, and to define the tools needed to maintain this balance.
ARCEP also issued an important decision on 29 March 2012 giving it the ability
to gather information on the market for interconnection between ISPs and the main
content and application providers.27 A new decision dated 18 March 201428 introduces
two main changes to the system established in 2012: it distinguishes the installed and
configured capacity on each interconnection link covered by the decision; and it also
allows ARCEP to request additional information periodically to enable it to assess the
scale of a presumed traffic overload on interconnection links. For the sake of simplicity,
ARCEP has also reduced the amount of information that operators are required to
provide, and the number of relationships covered by the decision.
Also in the context of net neutrality, the FCA issued a decision on
20 September 201229 regarding the dispute between the US operator Cogent and France
Télécom in relation to a controversial issue: whether network operators are entitled to
charge for opening additional capacity. The MegaUpload website – which has since
been shut down by the US authorities – was a Cogent customer that used to send, via
Cogent, to subscribers of France Télécom’s subsidiary, Orange, very significant traffic
25 Article L35-3 of the CPCE.
26 See the French Digital Council Opinion issued on 1 March 2013 (available at www.
27 ARCEP Decision No. 2012-0366 of 29 March 2012.
28 ARCEP Decision No. 2014-0353 of 18 March 2013.
29 FCA Decision No. 12-D-18 of 20 September 2012 on practices concerning reciprocal
interconnection services in the area of internet connectivity.
volumes (up to 13 times greater than in the other direction) of essentially video content
downloaded by web users. In view of the severely asymmetric traffic running to its
detriment and exceeding the maximum ratio stated in its peering policy, France Télécom
wished to charge for opening additional interconnection capacity. The FCA considered
that such practice did not contravene competition law inasmuch as France Télécom did
not refuse access to its subscribers by Cogent – and indeed opened additional capacity
free of charge on several occasions between 2005 and 2011, in response to demand
from Cogent – but simply requested payment for opening new capacity, in accordance
with its peering policy, without seeking to charge for existing capacity hitherto provided
free of charge. The FCA’s decision was confirmed by the Paris Court of Appeals in a
decision of 19 December 201330 and by the French Supreme Court in a decision dated
12 May 2015.31
The French regulatory framework is therefore undergoing changes to enhance
net neutrality among top internet platforms. On 18 June 2014, the Prime Minister
added several measures to France’s digital strategy framework, including introducing the
principle of net neutrality into the legislation as well as the ability of all internet users to
shift their personal data from one service to another. In addition, in a report submitted
on 13 June 2014 to the government, the French Digital Council called for the creation
of neutrality rating agencies in France.
As to content, pursuant to the Law of 21 June 2004, ISPs have a purely technical
role, and they do not have the general obligation to review the content that they transmit
or store. Nevertheless, when informed of unlawful information or activity, they must
take prompt action to withdraw the relevant content, failing which their civil liability
may be sought. Since 2009, HADOPI has been competent to address theft and piracy
matters. It intervenes when requested by regularly constituted bodies for professional
defence that are entitled to institute legal proceedings in order to defend the interests
entrusted to them under their statutes (e.g., SACEM), or by the public prosecutor. After
several formal notices to an offender, the procedure may result in a €1,500 fine.32
Finally, French e-consumers benefit from consumer law provisions and from
specific regulations. In particular, they are protected against certain unsolicited
communications via e-mail if their consent has not been obtained prior to the use of
their personal data.33 Moreover, consumers must be provided with valid means by which
they may effectively request that such unsolicited communications cease.34 In addition, a
Decree of 19 May 2015 provides for the implementation of an opposition list on which
30 Court of Appeals of Paris, Pôle 5, ch. 5-7, 19 December 2013, No. 2012/19484.
31 French Supreme Court, 12 May 2015, No. 14-10792.
32 See Articles L331-25, L336-3 and R335-5 of the Intellectual Property Code.
33 The CNIL is particularly attentive to the obligation of obtaining prior consent that is free,
specific and informed. On 1 June 2015, the CNIL imposed a €15,000 fine on Prisma Media
for not giving enough precise information regarding the nature of a newsletter to which its
customers may subscribe.
34 See Article L34-5 of the CPCE.
any consumer can add his or her name so that advertising material may not generally be
sent to him or her.35
Law No. 91-646 of 10 July 1991 concerning the secrecy of electronic communications,
now codified in the Internal Security Code, provides that the Prime Minister may
exceptionally authorise, for a maximum period of four months (renewable only upon
a new decision), the interception of electronic communications in order to collect
information relating to the defence of the nation or the safeguarding of elements that
are key to France’s scientific or economic capacity. In addition, pursuant to Law No.
2015-912 of 24 July 2015 (new Article L851-3 of the Internal Security Code) and only
for the purpose of preventing terrorism, the Prime Minister may impose on providers
of electronic communication services the obligation to implement an automated
data-processing system for a maximum period of two months (renewable only upon a
new decision) with the aim of detecting connections likely to reveal a terrorist threat.
Further, Law No. 2013-1168 on Military Programming (LPM) introduced a new
chapter in the Internal Security Code relating to administrative access to data connection,
including real-time geolocation.36 The new regime, which entered into force on
1 January 2015,37 authorises the collection of ‘information or documents’ from operators
as opposed to the collection of simply ‘technical data’ that is authorised under the current
law. In addition, access to data organised by the new regime is exclusively administrative,
namely, without judicial control. Requests for implementing such measures are submitted
by designated administrative agents to a ‘chosen personality’ appointed by the National
Commission for the Control of Security Interceptions (CNCIS) upon proposal of the
Prime Minister. CNCIS will be in charge of controlling (a posteriori) administrative
agents’ requests for using geolocation measures in the course of their investigation. The
Minister for Internal Security, the Defence Minister and the Finance Minister can also
issue direct requests for the implementation of real time geolocation measures to the
Prime Minister who, in this case, will directly grant authorisations.
The collection and future processing of personal data is subject to several
cumulative conditions, which include information, consent and legitimate purpose, and
– as a matter of principle, subject to certain exceptions – no transfer outside the EU.38
Any operator that determines the purposes and the manner in which personal data are
processed is considered a ‘data controller’ and therefore needs to file a prior declaration
35 See Article L121-34 of the Consumer Code.
36 New Articles L246-1 et seq. of the Internal Security Code introduced by Article 20 of the
37 Article 20 IV of the LPM.
38 See CNIL Decision No. 2011-238 of 30 August 2011, confirmed by the French
Administrative Supreme Court on 23 March 2015 (Conseil d’Etat, 10th and 9th subsections,
No. 353717), imposing a €10,000 fine on the database Lexeek for not respecting the right to
opposition applicable to the processing of personal data.
of such processing to the CNIL.39 Although it is considered as such by the CNIL, there
is currently discussion about whether an IP address can be considered as personal data.40
In addition to these general rules applicable to the protection of personal data,
the CPCE provides specific rules pursuant to which operators must delete or preserve
the anonymity of any traffic data relating to a communication as soon as it is complete.41
Exceptions are provided, however, in particular for the prevention of terrorism and in the
pursuit of criminal offences.
Data used for the purpose of location identification are also considered as
personal data within the meaning of Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on Information
Technology, Data Files and Civil Liberties. In the past few years, the CNIL has taken
decisions on statistical measures of advertising effects based on locational identification
of smartphones, pay-as-you-drive systems, anti-theft devices, Google Latitude and
Google Street View. Two conditions are usually required: the individual’s knowledge and
Any person under 18 is considered a child under French law. Unlike in the US,
there is no specific statute governing the protection of children online. In general terms,
the Law of 21 June 2004 provides that an ISP should inform subscribers where there is
a technical means of restricting access to selected services.
As for privacy, children’s online rights are protected in the same way as those of
adults. According to CNIL practice, collecting children’s personal data is allowed only
with prior authorisation from their parents and if clear information is provided to the
In addition, provisions aimed at protecting children against activities or products
such as pornography, gaming or alcohol are enshrined in criminal law and in a range of
sectoral legislation. To increase the efficiency of the existing provisions meant to prevent
children against pornography, Law No. 2011-267 on Performance Guidance for the
Police and Security Services (LOPPSI 2) allows the administrative authorities to order an
ISP to cut access to websites displaying images of child abuse.42 Law No. 2010-788, dated
12 July 2010 also forbids any type of communication with the purpose of promoting the
sale, the provision or the use of a mobile for children under 14 years old.43
Unauthorised access to automated data-processing systems is prohibited by Articles
323-1 to 323-7 of the French Penal Code. In addition, with regard to cyberattacks,
LOPPSI 2 introduced a new offence of online identity theft in Article 226-4-1 of the
French Penal Code and empowers police officers, upon judicial authorisation and only
39 In that respect, see the French Supreme Court’s recent decision, according to which the
fact that an employee is informed of the existence of a monitoring system is not sufficient:
the system controlling the flow of data received and sent by an employee constitutes an
automated data-processing system that requires prior declaration to the CNIL (Cass Soc,
8 October 2014, No.13 14991).
40 See Court of Appeals of Rennes, 28 April 2015, No. 14/05708.
41 See Articles L34-1 and D98-5 of the CPCE.
42 Article 6 of the Law of 21 June 2004.
43 Article L5231-3 of the Public Health Code.
for a limited period, to install software in order to observe, collect, record, save and
transmit all the content displayed on a computer’s screen. This helps with the detection
of infringements, the collection of evidence and the search for criminals by facilitating
the creation of police files and by organising their coordination.
In terms of personal data protection, LOPPSI 2 increases the instances where
authorities may set up, transfer and record images on public roads, premises or facilities
open to the public in order to protect the rights and freedom of individuals, and
recognises that the CNIL has jurisdiction over the control of video protection systems.
IV SPECTRUM POLICY
The management of the entire French radio frequency spectrum is entrusted to a state
agency, the National Frequencies Agency. It apportions the available radio spectrum,
whose allocation is administered by governmental administrations (e.g., those of civil
aviation, defence, space, the interior) and independent authorities (ARCEP and the
CSA) (see Section II.ii, supra).
In recent years, French spectrum policy has primarily concerned the development
of DTTV and the digital dividend. The total transition to DTTV was completed on
30 November 2011.
ii Flexible spectrum use
The trend towards greater flexibility in spectrum use is facilitated in France by the ability
of operators to trade frequency licences, as introduced by the Law of 9 June 2004.44
The general terms of spectrum licence trading were defined by Decree No.
2006-1016 of 11 August 2006, and the list of frequency bands whose licences could be
traded was laid down by a Ministerial Order of 11 August 2006. A frequency database
that provides information regarding the terms for spectrum trading in the different
frequency brands open in the secondary market is publicly accessible. The spectrum
licence holder may transfer all of its rights and obligations to a third party for the entire
remainder of the licence (full transfer) or only a portion of its rights and obligations
contained in the licence (e.g., geographical region or frequencies). The transfer of
frequency licences is subject either to prior approval of ARCEP45 or to notification to
ARCEP, which may refuse the assignment under certain circumstances.46 Another option
available for operators is spectrum leasing, whereby the licence holder makes frequencies
fully or partially available for a third party to operate. Unlike in a sale, the original licence
holder remains entirely responsible for complying with the obligations attached to the
frequency licence. All frequency-leasing operations require the prior approval of ARCEP.
44 Article L42-3 of the CPCE.
45 Article R20-44-9-2 of the CPCE.
iii Broadband and next-generation mobile spectrum use
Until 2009, there were three 3G licence holders in France: Orange France, SFR and
Bouygues Telecom. The fourth 3G mobile licence was awarded to Free Mobile on
17 December 2009.
In addition, spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands were allocated for the
deployment of the ultra-high-speed 4G mobile network: in that respect, licences for the
2.6GHz frequency were awarded to Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange France
and SFR in September 2011,47 and in December 2011, licences for the 800MHz were
awarded to the same operators except Free Mobile,48 which has instead been granted
roaming rights in priority roll-out areas. The next step towards greater deployment of the
4G mobile network is the transfer of spectrum in the 700MHz band from TNT services
to mobile services. According to the calendar set by the Prime Minister, the allocation of
the 700MHz band should be carried out in December 2015, but the transfer will only
be made effective from October 2017 to June 2019.
With respect to mobile network, SFR and Bouygues Telecom announced in
January 2014 that they have finalised and signed an agreement whereby the two operators
will deploy a shared cellular network that covers a portion of France. The announcement
followed the issuance of the FCA’s Opinion No. 13-A-08 of 11 March 2013 on
conditions for sharing and roaming on mobile networks, in which the FCA developed
in particular the conditions under which network sharing between mobile phone
operators may be permitted without harming competition.49 The announcement was
welcomed by ARCEP, which indicated that resource-pooling agreements can provide
telecommunications operators with a way to reduce their costs and increase the benefits
passed onto users, including increased coverage and a better quality of service from both
operators.50 However, ARCEP also indicated that the fulfilment of certain conditions
remain to be checked. In particular, the two operators must remain independent from
one another in terms of both their business strategies and sales. In addition, it must
be ascertained that the agreement will not squeeze certain competitors out of the
market. Finally, the agreement must result in better coverage and quality of service
provided to end users. These improvements must be quantifiable and verifiable over
time. On 25 September 2014, the FCA rejected Orange’s complaint about and request
for provisional measures to suspend the agreement, concluding that the agreement in
question did not constitute an immediate and serious threat to the economy. ARCEP
announced that it will work closely with the FCA to perform a detailed examination of
the agreement to verify whether these various conditions have indeed been met. It also
remains to be seen how the recent acquisition of SFR by Altice/Numericable will affect
the network sharing agreement between SFR and Bouygues Telecom.
47 ARCEP, Decision No. 2011-1080 of 22 December 2011.
49 FCA, Opinion No. 13-A-08 of 11 March 2013 on conditions for sharing and roaming on
50 See ARCEP press release of 31 January 2014.
iv Spectrum auctions and fees
Spectrum auctions in the case of scarce resources
Pursuant to Article L42-2 of the CPCE, when scarce resources such as RF are at stake, the
ARCEP may decide to limit the number of licences, either through a call for applications
or by auction. The government sets the terms and conditions governing these licensing
selection procedures, and until now such proceedings have always been in the form of
calls for applications.
Depending on their size and their turnover, electronic communication operators are
subject to different types and levels of fee.51 If an operator’s licence only covers one region
in France or its overseas regions, the fee is reduced by half.
In addition to these fees and pursuant to Articles R20-31 to R20-44 of the CPCE,
licensed operators contribute to the financing of the universal services.
i Restrictions on the provision of service
Media are, in particular, subject to certain content requirements and restrictions.
At least 60 per cent of the audiovisual works and films broadcasted by licensed television
broadcasters must have been produced in the EU, and 40 per cent must have been
produced originally in French.52
Private radio broadcasters must – in principle – dedicate at least 40 per cent of
their musical programmes to French music.53
In addition, pursuant to Law No. 2014-873 of 4 August 2014 for true equality
between women and men, audiovisual programmes have the duty to ensure fair
representation of both women and men. Furthermore, audiovisual programmes and
radio broadcasters must combat sexism by broadcasting specific programmes in this
Advertising is particularly regulated in television broadcasting.55 In particular, advertising
must not disrupt the integrity of a film or programme, and there must be at least
20 minutes between two advertising slots. Films may not be interrupted by advertising
that lasts more than six minutes.
51 Article 45 of the Law of Finance of 1987 as amended.
52 Articles 7 and 13 of Decree No. 90-66 of 17 January 1990.
53 Article 28 2°-bis of the Law of 30 September 1986.
54 Article 56 of the Law of 4 August 2014.
55 Decree No. 92-280 of 27 March 1992.
Rules governing advertisements are stricter on public channels. In particular,
since 2009, advertising is banned on public service broadcasting channels from 8pm
to 6am. This prohibition does not, however, concern general-interest messages, generic
advertising (for the consumption of fruit, dairy products, etc.) or sponsorships, which
may continue to be broadcast.
In addition, some product are prohibited from being advertised, such as alcoholic
beverages above a certain level of alcohol or tobacco products. A circular was issued on
25 September 2014 related to the newly marketed electronic cigarettes, prohibiting any
form of advertisement of such device or associated refills.
ii Internet-delivered video content
Internet video distribution refers to IPTV services, which can be classified into the three
following main categories: live television, time-shifted programming and VOD.
For customers who cannot afford triple-play offers, access to video content is
limited to the content of free channels. The regulatory framework for ‘social’ offers set
by the Law of 4 August 2008 is indeed limited to mobile telephony offers, triple play
offers being thus outside its scope. Following the FCA’s Opinion No. 11-A-10 and in the
absence of regulation, France Télécom-Orange launched a ‘social tariff’ for multi-service
offers (telephone and internet) (see Section III.ii, supra).
iii Mobile services
Mobile personal television, initiated in 2007, has suffered from substantial delays due
to disagreements among operators and content providers on the applicable economic
model and on how to finance the deployment of a new network.
Thus, on 8 April 2010, the CSA delivered authorisations to 16 channels
(13 private channels selected by the CSA after the call for applications launched on
6 November 2007, together with three public channels selected by the government) for
the broadcasting of personal mobile television services.
On 22 April 2010, TDF, a French company that provides radio and television
transmission services, services for telecoms operators and other multimedia services, and
Virgin Mobile signed an agreement under which TDF committed to developing the new
network with up to 50 per cent coverage of the ‘outdoor’ population and 30 per cent
of the ‘indoor’ population, with Virgin Mobile paying TDF a monthly per customer
fee using DVB-H, an airwave broadcasting format that does not allow interaction with
the user. However, after Virgin Mobile’s decision to withdraw from the project, TDF
decided to end the agreement in January 2011, and in June 2011 announced that it no
longer wished to be the DVB-H operator in charge of mobile personal television. Further
to TDF’s withdrawal, the CSA granted a two-month period to the selected channels to
appoint a new operator in charge of mobile personal television. On 14 February 2012,
no operator being appointed, the CSA acknowledged that the project was abandoned,
and withdrew the authorisations it delivered to the 16 channels on 8 April 2010.56
56 CSA, Decision No. 2012-275 of 14 February 2012.
VI THE YEAR IN REVIEW
i Deployment of super-fast broadband in France
The ‘Super-fast broadband France plan’ was launched in 2013, and aims to cover the
entire territory with fixed super-fast broadband by 2022. 2014 was marked by great
improvements in terms of infrastructures development, and in December 2014,
13.3 million households and premises were eligible for super-fast broadband.57 The
Digital Agency was created in January 2015, and is entrusted with the implementation
and monitoring of the deployment of super-fast broadband in France.58 In addition, the
government created an observatory for super-fast broadband, allowing any person to
monitor network developments in France.59
In large urban areas, the deployment of super-fast broadband is carried out by
private operators, and covers about 57 per cent of the population. In order to enable this,
ARCEP expanded the access perimeter to Orange’s infrastructures to private operators.
For rural and less populated areas, public initiative networks have been implemented
by local authorities with state financial aid of about €3 billion. In July 2014, the
government announced the implementation of seven new public initiative networks
aimed at providing super-fast broadband coverage to 4 million households by 2020.
Super-fast broadband is also expanding in the mobile sector through 4G
deployment in France, and 2014 was marked by a 47 per cent increase in the number of
4G sites in use. The allocation of the 700MHz band to mobile operators announced in
October 2014 was a great step forward in this respect. In addition, ARCEP set out 4G
deployment obligations for mobile operators that it monitors on a continuous basis and
ii Concentration in the telecommunication sector
Altice’s acquisition of SFR
In April 2014, after a bidding war that lasted weeks, the cable operator Numericable
– a subsidiary of the Altice group – succeeded in purchasing Vivendi’s French
telecom subsidiary, SFR. Following a rather favourable opinion from ARCEP,60 the
FCA authorised the merger after an in-depth Phase II review on 30 October 2014.61
Numericable had to offer several significant remedies to obtain the approval of the FCA
(this is the first time that such remedies have had to be made), including opening up its
cable network to its competitors and disposing of its mobile activities in La Réunion and
Mayotte (French overseas territories) due to the organisation’s dominance in the Indian
Ocean island market. In January 2015, the FCA decided on its own initiative to examine
Numericable’s compliance with the remedies related to the disposal of its mobile activities,
and on 29 July 2015 announced that Numericable had complied with its undertaking
57 ARCEP Annual Report, 2015.
58 Decree No. 2015-113 of 3 February 2015.
60 ARCEP, Opinion No. 2014-0815 of 22 July 2014.
61 FCA, Decision No. 14-DCC-160 of 30 October 2014.
related to access to its cable network.62 In addition, on 2 April 2015 the FCA conducted
unannounced dawn raids at SFR-Numericable offices following suspicions that the two
telecom operators had commenced their merger before the FCA gave the green light to
the transaction (‘gun-jumping’). Both companies could face potentially sizeable fines if
they are found to have implemented the merger prior to the authorisation.
Altice’s acquisition of Virgin Mobile
On 27 November 2014, the FCA authorised Numericable-SFR’s acquisition of
Omer Telecom Limited, which is active in the mobile sector under the Virgin Mobile
brand.63 The main competition issue raised by this merger would be the risk of market
pre-emption by the new entity, which could now provide innovative multiplay offers
combining access to super-fast internet and mobile services. However, the FCA found
that the remedies undertaken by Numericable during its prior merger with SFR were
sufficient to prevent such a risk.
Bouygues Telecom and SFR
On 31 January 2014, SFR and Bouygues Telecom signed a network sharing agreement
covering 57 per cent of the French population (excluding the dense population areas).
In addition to network sharing, the agreement includes 4G roaming services provided
by Bouygues Telecom to SFR for a period of two-and-a-half years. Orange’s request
to suspend the agreement was rejected by the FCA in Decision No. 14-D-10 dated
25 September 2014, and was later confirmed by the Paris Court of Appeals in a decision
dated 5 February 2015.64
In addition, in June 2015, Bouygues rejected Altice’s €10 billion offer for its
telecom business. The deal would have combined two of France’s largest mobile providers
– Numericable-SFR and Bouygues Telecom – and overtaken Orange as France’s largest
cellphone company. The transaction would also have changed the telecommunications
landscape in France, reducing the number of main mobile providers from four to
three. Bouygues held that there were significant risks in terms of competition law for a
transaction that would be examined closely by the FCA, and that it thought Bouygues
Telecom was well positioned to take advantage of the growth in the telecommunications
sector being driven by consumers’ increasing use of digital devices.65
iii Data protection and security
2014 saw the adoption of new legal provisions on data protection and security. Law
No. 2014-1353 of 13 November 2014 reinforcing the dispositions related to the
fight against terrorism provides new offences with regard to security on the internet.
In particular, being a terrorism apologist on an online communication service is
62 FCA, Decision No. 15-DAG-02 of 29 July 2015.
63 FCA, Decision No.14-DCC-179 of 27 November 2014.
64 Court of Appeals of Paris, 5 February 2015, No. 2014/21492.
now recognised as a délit66 and is punishable with seven years of imprisonment and a
€100,000 fine.67 In addition, websites considered to be apologising for terrorism can
now be subject to administrative blocking.68 Furthermore, the recently promulgated Law
No. 2015-912 of 24 July 2015 on Intelligence substantially expands the administrative
prerogatives regarding data processing (see Section III.iv, supra).
With regard to internet trackers and cookies in particular, the CNIL announced in
July 2014 that controls would be carried out as from October 2014 to ensure compliance
with Article 32-II of the French Data Protection Act, which requires clear and complete
information to be provided to internet users. Since October 2014, 27 online controls
and 24 onsite controls have been carried out by the CNIL.69 Finally, in 2014 the CNIL
imposed a €150,000 fine on Google for the non-compliance of its confidentiality policy
with the French Data Protection Act, and forced Google to publish a link to this decision
on its homepage for 48 hours,70 while Orange was subject to a public warning for lack of
security and data protection.71
iv Judicial proceedings
In June 2014, SFR and its subsidiary SRR (based in La Réunion and Mayotte) were
sentenced to a €45.9 million fine by the FCA for anti-competitive practices after a
complaint by Orange in 2009. SRR was accused of maintaining abusive prices for calls
made to its competitors’ networks.72
Further to complaints by Bouygues Telecom and SFR, the FCA formally
charged Orange on 10 March 2015 with discriminatory practices on the fixed wholesale
market, loyalty practices in the mobile enterprise market and exclusive discounts in the
enterprise data markets. In parallel to this ongoing investigation, Numericable-SFR filed
a lawsuit before the Paris Commercial Court on 18 June 2015 seeking €512 million in
damages against Orange based on accusations that Orange would have engaged into
anti-competitive practices in business-to-business services.
In addition, on 16 March 2015, the Paris Commercial Court73 ordered Orange to
pay €8 million as compensation for the damages Outremer Telecom suffered as a result
of Orange’s anti-competitive practices in the mobile and fixed-to-mobile markets in the
French Caribbean and in French Guyana, which were punished by the FCA in 2009.74
66 The second most serious offence in the French criminal system.
67 Article 421-2-5 of the Penal Code.
68 Article 706-23 of the Penal Procedure Code.
69 CNIL Annual Report, 2014.
70 CNIL, Decision No. 2013-420 of 3 January 2014.
71 CNIL, Decision No. 2014-298 of 7 August 2014.
72 FCA, Decision No. 14-D-05 of 13 June 2014.
73 Paris Commercial Court, 16 March 2015, RG 2010073867.
74 FCA, Decision No. 09-D-36 of 9 December 2009. On 6 January 2015, the Supreme Court
confirmed the decision of the Paris Court of Appeals, reducing the fine from €63 million to
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
JOHN D COLAHAN
Latham & Watkins LLP
Mr Colahan is based in Latham & Watkins’ London office and divides his time
with the Brussels office. Prior to joining Latham & Watkins, Mr Colahan was the
international antitrust counsel, based in London, for The Coca-Cola Company, where
his responsibilities included advising all operating groups on strategic planning and
implementation of a wide variety of international joint ventures and acquisitions as well
as the conduct of international antitrust litigation and investigations. Mr Colahan has
also served as a legal adviser on European law to the European secretariat of the UK
Cabinet Office and has represented the UK in numerous cases.
He represents clients before the European Commission, national authorities
in Europe and internationally, as well as conducting litigation in the European courts
and numerous national courts. He has advised on a wide variety of international
antitrust matters, including structuring and implementation of international mergers,
acquisitions and joint ventures, cartel enforcement, single firm conduct and compliance
counseling. Mr Colahan has worked in a broad range of sectors including fast-moving
consumer goods, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, retail, media and publishing,
pharmaceuticals, aviation, manufacturing, agricultural, defence, bulk chemicals,
maritime, energy, software, supply of professional services, telecommunications and
Latham & Watkins LLP
Gail Crawford is a partner in the London office. Her practice focuses primarily on
technology, data privacy and security, intellectual property and commercial law, and
includes advising on technology licensing agreements and joint ventures, technology
procurement, data protection issues, and e-commerce and communications regulation.
She also advises both customers and suppliers on multi-jurisdictional IT, business
About the Authors
process and transformation outsourcing transactions. Ms Crawford has extensive
experience advising on data protection issues, including advising a global corporation
with operations in over 100 countries on its compliance strategy, and advising a number
of US e-commerce and web businesses as they expand into Europe and beyond. She also
advises online businesses and providers of communications services on the impact of the
UK and European restrictions on interception and disclosure of communications data.
JOHN P JANKA
Latham & Watkins LLP
John P Janka is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Latham & Watkins LLP, where
he served as a global leader of the communications law practice group for a decade.
For almost three decades, Mr Janka has counselled international telecommunications
operators and ISPs, content providers, investors and banks on a variety of regulatory,
transactional and controversy matters. His experience includes the purchase, sale
and financing of communications companies, the procurement and deployment of
communications facilities, global spectrum strategies and dispute resolution, the provision
of communications capacity, content distribution, strategic planning, and effectuating
changes in legal and regulatory frameworks. His clients include satellite operators,
broadband providers, wireless and other terrestrial communications companies, video
programming suppliers, ISPs, television and radio broadcast stations, and firms that
invest in and finance these types of entities.
Mr Janka has served as a United States delegate to an ITU World Radio-
communication Conference in Geneva, and as a law clerk to the Honorable Cynthia
Holcomb Hall, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr Janka holds
a JD degree from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, where
he graduated as a member of the Order of the Coif, and an AB degree from Duke
University, where he graduated magna cum laude.
Latham & Watkins
Jean-Luc Juhan is a partner in the corporate department of the Paris office of Latham &
His practice focuses on outsourcing and technology transactions, including
business processes, information technology, telecommunications, systems and software
procurement and integration. He also has extensive experience advising clients on all the
commercial and legal aspects of technology development, licensing arrangements, web
hosting, manufacturing, distribution, e-commerce, entertainment and technology joint
Mr Juhan is in particular cited in Chambers Europe 2014, Option Droit & Affaires
2014 and The Legal 500 Paris 2014: ‘Great negotiator’ Jean-Luc Juhan, who is ‘very
sharp and down-to-earth’ and has ‘very good knowledge of the industry’, advises high-
profile French and international groups on large outsourcing, telecommunication and
integration system projects’.
About the Authors
Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise
Saori Kawakami is an associate of Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise in
Tokyo and a member of the corporate department. Her practice focuses on M&A,
project finance, general corporate, employment and telecommunications matters. Her
representative experience in the telecommunications industry includes representing the
underwriters in a US$4.4 billion senior notes offering by SoftBank Group Corporation,
the largest high yield bond offering in Asia by a leading mobile phone carrier in Japan;
Perfect World Co Ltd, a leading online game developer and operator in China in
purchasing C&C Media Co Ltd, an online game company in Japan for US$21 million;
Liberty Global Inc in the US$4 billion sale of its stake in Jupiter Telecommunications
Co Ltd (J:COM), a leading broadband provider of communications services in Japan;
and Japan Entertainment Network KK, a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting System Inc,
in a stock purchase deal with Secom Co Ltd, the largest security company in Japan. Ms
Kawakami is admitted to practise in Japan and is a member of the Daini Tokyo Bar
Association. She is fluent in Japanese and English.
Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise
Hiroki Kobayashi is a corporate partner of Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise
in Tokyo. He advises on Japanese legal issues relating to a variety of areas of transactional
practice, including corporate law and various government regulatory matters. He
handles a number of cross-border M&A matters in collaboration with Latham &
Watkins attorneys in other offices, and counsels clients on M&A transactions conducted
under different business practices. His recent experience includes an acquisition by
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc through its Japanese subsidiary Japan Entertainment
Network KK of Japan Image Communications Co Ltd, a licensed operator of multiple
TV channels, and a sale by Liberty Global of its US subsidiaries holding shares in Jupiter
Telecommunications, Japan’s largest cable television operator, to KDDI. Mr Kobayashi
has spoken on the topic of privacy in cyberspace at a meeting of an academic society
of computer scientists. Mr Kobayashi is admitted to practise in Japan and New York,
and is a member of the Dai-ichi Tokyo Bar Association and the New York State Bar
Association. He is a native speaker of Japanese and fluent in English.
CHI HO KWAN
Latham & Watkins
Chi Ho Kwan is an associate in the Hong Kong office of Latham & Watkins and a
member of the litigation department.
Mr Kwan specialises in civil and commercial litigation and arbitration proceedings.
He has assisted in various civil matters such as shareholders disputes, contractual disputes
and debt recovery actions.
He also has experience in a variety of regulatory matters, including licensing
matters, financial and corporate regulations and investigation, as well as white-collar
defence and investigations.
About the Authors
ABBOTT B LIPSKY, JR
Latham & Watkins LLP
Mr Lipsky is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Latham & Watkins. He is
internationally recognised for his work on both US and non-US antitrust and competition
law and policy, and has handled antitrust matters throughout the world. He served as
Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust during the Reagan Administration.
Having served as chief antitrust lawyer for The Coca-Cola Company from 1992 to 2002,
Mr Lipsky has incomparable experience with antitrust in the US, EU, Canada, Japan
and other established antitrust-law regimes, as well as in new and emerging antitrust-law
regimes in scores of jurisdictions that adopted free-market policies following the 1991
collapse of the Soviet Union. He has been closely associated with efforts to streamline
antitrust enforcement around the world, advocating the reduction of compliance burdens
and the harmonisation of fundamental objectives of antitrust law.
Mr Lipsky was the first international officer of the American Bar Association
Section of Antitrust Law. He served on the editorial board of Competition Laws Outside the
United States (2001), the most ambitious annotated compilation of non-US competition
laws yet produced. He has held a variety of senior positions among the officers and
governing council of the Section of Antitrust Law and continues to serve as co-chair of
its International Task Force. He is admitted to practise before the US Supreme Court
and various federal appellate courts.
Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise
Shintaro Ojima is an associate of Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise in
Tokyo. Mr Ojima’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and general corporate
matters. His representative experience in the telecommunications industry includes
representing the underwriters in a US$4.4 billion senior notes offering by SoftBank
Group Corporation, the largest high yield bond offering in Asia by a leading mobile
phone carrier in Japan. Prior to joining Latham & Watkins, Mr Ojima served as an
associate in the corporate department of a major international law firm in Tokyo. Mr
Ojima is admitted to practise in Japan and is a member of the Tokyo Bar Association.
Latham & Watkins
Simon Powell is the managing partner of the Hong Kong office of Latham & Watkins
and the chair of the litigation department in Asia.
Mr Powell’s practice focuses on complex contentious regulatory, commercial
litigation and arbitration matters, including contentious technology, media and
telecommunications regulatory issues and disputes; financial and corporate regulation
and investigation; antitrust and competition law; and contentious insolvency and
business restructuring and reorganisation.
Mr Powell represents numerous multinational and local corporations in
connection with a wide range of multi-jurisdictional and cross-border issues, including
those operating in the telecommunications industry, and in relation to antitrust and
competition issues and regulatory matters generally, with a particular focus on Hong
About the Authors
Mr Powell is one of only a few solicitor-advocates in Hong Kong, giving him full
rights of audience before all the Hong Kong civil courts (including the newly instituted
Competition Tribunal, which has been set up as a part of the judiciary). He is also
a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a CEDR accredited mediator.
He sits on the Hong Kong Law Society’s competition committee, which focuses on
reviewing and commenting upon competition-related issues within Hong Kong.
Latham & Watkins
Myria Saarinen is a partner in the Paris office of Latham & Watkins. She has extensive
experience in IP and IT litigation, including internet and other technology-related
disputes. She is very active in litigation relating to major industrial operations and is
involved in a broad range of general commercial disputes.
She has developed specific expertise in the area of privacy and personal data,
including advising clients on their transborder data flows, handling claims raised by the
French Data Protection Authority, and setting up training sessions on the personal data
protection framework in general and on specific topics. She also has expertise in cross-
border issues raised in connection with discovery or similar requests in France.
Ms Saarinen is named among leading practitioners in commercial litigation, data
privacy and IT (The Legal 500 Paris 2014, Chambers Europe 2013, Chambers Global
Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise
Daniel Senger is an associate of Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise in
Tokyo. Mr Senger’s practice focuses on project finance and general corporate matters.
He has worked on a number of large international project financings in Japan and the
greater Asia-Pacific region, as well as several M&A, corporate finance and other general
corporate matters across various industries. Prior to joining Latham & Watkins, Mr
Senger served as an associate at a major international law firm in New York. Mr Senger
is admitted to practise in New York.
Latham & Watkins LLP
Omar Shah is a partner in Latham & Watkins’ London office. He advises clients in the
media and communications sector on antitrust and regulatory issues, and represents
them before UK, EU and other regulatory and competition authorities, courts and
tribunals. His experience includes acting for a UK broadcaster in an Ofcom investigation
into licensing of digital terrestrial television; acting for a major UK telco in an Ofcom
investigation into consumer broadband pricing; acting for a leading provider of electronic
programme guides in securing UK licensing from Ofcom; representing various telcos
in securing merger control clearance from the Office of Fair Trading (now part of the
Competition and Markets Authority), the European Commission and other regulators
for several transactions; and defending a major advertiser and provider of online music
services in an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority, including subsequent
judicial review proceedings in the High Court.
About the Authors
JARRETT S TAUBMAN
Latham & Watkins LLP
Jarrett S Taubman is counsel in the Washington, DC office of Latham & Watkins
LLP, where he represents providers of telecommunications, media, internet and other
communications services (and their investors) before the Federal Communications
Commission, state public utilities commissions and various courts. Mr Taubman assists
clients in implementing strategies to facilitate the development of favourable regulatory
policy, structuring transactions and securing required regulatory consents, and ensuring
ongoing compliance with complex regulatory requirements. Much of his practice involves
the navigation of the complex legal and policy issues raised by the advent of broadband
services. Mr Taubman also represents both communications and non-communications
clients before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a multi-agency
group with the statutory authority to review and block proposed investments in critical
US infrastructure from non-US sources.
Mr Taubman received his JD from New York University School of Law, a master’s
degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and
a BS from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Latham & Watkins LLP
Dr Gabriele Wunsch is an associate in the Hamburg office of Latham & Watkins LLP,
practising IP and media law in the firm’s litigation and corporate departments. She is a
graduate of the Westphalian Wilhelms University at Münster, and completed parts of
her studies and work in Germany, England, Spain, Switzerland and the United States.
Furthermore, Dr Wunsch studied on the Humboldt University of Berlin’s European
and civil business law postgraduate programme, promoted by the German Research
Foundation, where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on the harmonisation of EU law.
During her legal traineeship, she worked, inter alia, for the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, in the IP and unfair competition department of another major law firm, and in
the legal department of a well-known online auction house. Subsequently, Dr Wunsch
completed a master’s degree (LLM) at the Technical University of Dresden and Queen
Mary, University of London, specialising in intellectual property law.
About the Authors
LATHAM & WATKINS LLP
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