• France's news in English

Free mobile network sued for fraud

Ben McPartland · 18 Jan 2013, 12:00

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

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”.

Story continues below…

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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
It's official: France finally gets its new map
Photo: AFP

So, how well do you know the new map?

Sexism at the wheel: France wants more women drivers
Photo: State Farm/Flickr

Because the men are causing all the accidents.

VIDEOS: France's raunchiest TV commercials of all time
Photo: Gifi

Two sexually-charged adverts have got people hot under the collar in France, a little strange perhaps given the history of the French for making raunchy adverts. Take a look back through time at these famously steamy ads.

Why are foreign students in France 'Europe's unhappiest'?
Students at a university in Normandy. Photo: AFP

... for the fourth year in a row.

Education in France
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Students in Lyon. Photo: AFP

Classrooms overflowing, a serious lack of funding, and a flailing reputation abroad... what exactly is wrong with France's university system? The Local's Oliver Gee takes a closer look.

Studying in France
How to survive Paris on a student budget
Are you a student in Paris? Here's how to save some money. Photo: AFP

With students from all over the world descending on Paris for the start of a new term, we take a look at the best ways to save money while living in the French capital on a shoestring.

Where in France has the cleanest and dirtiest air?
Photo: AFP

No, Paris doesn't have the dirtiest.

Court could give 'depressed' French nation right to smile
Photo: Jens Bergander/Flickr

"Is it really responsible, in a depressed France, that the authorities forbid the French from smiling... (on their ID photos)"

Is Hollande's last budget target really credible?
Photo: AFP

The president says the budget is "serious" but many would disagree.

China turns to Brittany cows to feed its babies
Photo: AFP

Far east giant provides a boost for Brittany's beleaguered dairy farmers.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The troubles with French universities laid bare
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
jobs available