• France edition
 

Free mobile network sued for fraud

Published: 18 Jan 2013 12:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Jan 2013 12:00 GMT+01:00

A French consumer group is suing mobile phone operator Free, accusing it of “fraudulent commercial practices” over the quality of its network.

When Free set up in France around a year ago it shook up the mobile market in France by offering cheap monthly rates without the need for customers to sign up to long term contracts.

But consumer group UFC-Que Choisir believes Free’s 3G roaming service is not up to scratch and certainly not as good as the company makes out to its customers.

After carrying out a series of tests in Lille and around Paris the watchdog found it was nearly impossible to watch a YouTube video, listen to music online or download applications when using the 3G roaming.

When the same tests were carried out for France’s other networks, SFR, Orange and Bouygues Telecom there were far fewer problems.

“The difference between what they promise and the reality shocked us,” said the group’s president Alain Bazot in French daily Le Parisien.

Because Free’s network does not yet cover the whole of France, the company gets around this by renting part of the Orange network.

It is not the first time the company has ended up in hot water over the quality of its service. In November last year telecom regulator (ARCEP) highlighted Free’s “relatively poor performance for applications like web browsing and watching videos online”.

The network came out fighting this week pointing to its success in France.

“You don’t get 5 million subscribers unless the service is of the highest standard, above all our no-contract deals,” the company’s boss Xavier Niel told Le Figaro newspaper.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Threat letter to French mosque praises far right
A mosque in the Paris suburbs has gotten a threat tied to the recent election of far-right National Front mayor. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Threat letter to French mosque praises far right

After pork products turned up in the mailbox of a suburban Paris mosque along with a threatening letter praising the town's recently elected far-right National Front mayor, muslims are concerned about a "worrying" local shift. READ () »

'Slavery' protesters slash hundreds of Velib' tires
Hundreds of Velib' bike tires slashed in 'slavery' protest. Photo: Cyril Folliot/AFP

'Slavery' protesters slash hundreds of Velib' tires

Far-left activists slashed the tires on over 360 Velib’ bikes in Paris this week in protest of the ‘slave’ labour the programme’s operator uses to repair vandalized bikes. The vandals could themselves end up 'slave' labour. READ () »

New scandal means more bad news for president
France's president was smacked with his administration's latest embarrassing scandal. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

New scandal means more bad news for president

The latest blow to struggling President François Hollande came on Friday when a close aide quit over allegations he'd used taxpayer money to support a posh lifestyle and appeared to have breached conflict of interest barriers. READ () »

French bank bosses to explain 'indecent' pay
France's economy minister wants bank bosses to explain their "indecent" pay. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

French bank bosses to explain 'indecent' pay

France’s economy minister, outraged by huge pay hikes the bosses of the country’s biggest banks have awarded themselves in the past year, called the chiefs to a meeting to “explain” their “indecent” pay. READ () »

Eurostar: Major train delays after two incidents
Multiple incident snarl Eurostar traffic during Easter rush. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

Eurostar: Major train delays after two incidents

Hundreds of travelers on Eurostar trains between Paris and London saw hours of delays and cancellations on Thursday night due to back-to-back technical and fatal incidents. Service was supposed to be back to normal on Friday. READ () »

Police finish DNA sweep in hunt for school rapist
Police have finished an unprecedented DNA collection in the hunt for a rapist. Photo: Xavier Leoty/AFP

Police finish DNA sweep in hunt for school rapist

All 527 male students and staff at a private school in France have turned over their DNA as part of an unprecedented hunt for whoever raped a girl in a campus bathroom. One student who'd refused relented under prosecutors' pressure. READ () »

‘France needs to change its response to crime’
France prison's have hit a new record for overcrowding. Photo: Damien Meyer/AFP

‘France needs to change its response to crime’

This month France had more prisoners behind bars than ever before in its history, according to statistics unveiled on Thursday. An expert on the country's penal system told The Local that Sarkozy-era sentencing laws are largely to blame. READ () »

Burgundy 'will be ruined by wind farms'
Will Burgundy's worldwide reputation suffer because of windfarms? Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

Burgundy 'will be ruined by wind farms'

The famous Burgundy region of France is synonymous with its vineyards but its image will soon be ruined, campaigners say, by the planned construction of new wind turbines. They say their chances of gaining UNESCO world heritage status are threatened. READ () »

VIDEO: Inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Here is a video look inside Paris's first-ever hotel just for cats. Photo: Lisa Winderberg/Flickr

VIDEO: Inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats

It was only a matter of time before the world’s most visited city extended its luxury lodging options to pets as well. Here's a look inside Paris’s first ever hotel just for cats, which naturally comes complete with a "gourmet" food menu and a games room. READ () »

French government's austerity denial 'a joke'
Some €50 billion cuts and freezes in benefits are not austerity, the French government says. That's a joke, say analysts. Photo: Pierre Andrieu/AFP

French government's austerity denial 'a joke'

After announcing a raft of spending cuts and benefits freezes this week the French government was at pains to stress that the country was not undergoing “austerity” as it faces a rebellion among its ranks. Analysts dismissed ministers' efforts as "a joke". READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
VIDEO: Take a look inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Education
French parents are the most laidback about their kids' education. True?
Tech
What do French TV viewers complain about the most? Yes it's English
Business & Money
French tax declarations: The key points to remember
Gallery
French slang: Everyday words you need to know (but use cautiously)
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
International
VIDEO: ‘Anti-French’ Cadillac ad sparks anger in France. See why.
Features
Buying property in France? Here's 10 things you need to think about
National
What will the future map of France look like? The answer lies within.
Politics
'The 27 French regions aren't the problem, it's the 36,000 towns'
Culture
Ex underage call girl Zahia picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Gallery
Buying a house in France? Ten things you need to think about
Advertisement:
National
France bans work emails after 6pm! Sadly it's not quite true.
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why don't the French do charity? Is it down to taxes?
Society
VIDEO: The Paris zoo is back but this time the animals are in charge
National
This will be the most expensive road in France - Only €1.66bn for 12km!
Society
Only in France? Gourmet pensioners party lands village in hot water
National
What's the worst thing to do when you realise you're on the wrong train?
From showers to kissing: Anglos tell Twitter what's weird about France
National
'A big quake will hit France and there will be casualties' - Scientist warns
Culture
After all the dozens of books is France still worth writing about?
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Opinion
Paris or the suburbs - where would you live?
National
VIDEO: Walk the line - crossing the Seine on a tightrope
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se