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SFR and Neuf Cegetel Cry Foul over France Telecom

Vivendi's outspoken CEO Jean-Bernard Levy has launched a withering attack on the anti-competitive stance of incumbent operator France Telecom (FT), and urged regulators to take immediate action. 

Vivendi - the parent company to SFR and Neuf  Cegetel - is, according to M. Levy, suffering at the hands of unfair commercial means preventing it fair access to the broadband sector because FT maintains such a tight grip on unbundled local loop wholesale services and on fixed lines.

Specifically, M. Levy is calling for the French telecoms regulator (Arcep) to put a cap on FT's 'unacceptably high' margins and significantly reduce fixed-line prices. M. Levy's comments come in an extensive interview in Les Echos newspaper, where he also invites the regulator to either impose functional separation on FT or else introduce further and better-policed price controls.

The argument looks set to move onto the question of TV services, where access to each other's content channels (Vivendi controls the popular Canal+, while FT operate Orange TV channels) will create further waves.

Also, following last week's news that fellow rival Free Iliad had required Alice France, M. Levy claimed Vivendi could have made the deal earlier in the year but passed on the opportunity owing to the expense required to make the business profitable.

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