top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

3G go-slow is ‘bid to boost 4G’

Mobile phone operators accused of throttling downloads to force customers to switch to new super-fast network

MOBILE telephone companies have been accused of throttling the 3G service in a bid to force users to sign up for their new super-fast – and more expensive - 4G network.

Consumer champion UFC-Que Choisir has complained to telecoms watchdog Arcep that the 3G network has become poorer over the past 10 months with slower speeds for internet use and downloads. It wants Arcep to set up a national minimum speed for downloads.

Around 35million people use the 3G network and Que Choisir says its first series of tests in January highlighted the general poor quality of the service for downloading videos, music and films. A follow-up in Ile-de-France, Grenoble, Lille and Toulouse showed that it had gotten worse.

President Alain Bazot said the operators orchestrated the slide to provoke consumers into signing up for 4G: “The operators have made a massive strategic investment in 4G and there is no better way to show its value than to degrade the 3G quality.”

The new attack comes just days after Que Choisir accused Orange and SFR of misleading advertising over the extent of their 4G coverage in Paris.

Three of the four main mobile operators are targeted in the new claims, with only Bouygues recognised for having slightly improved its service – although it was criticised for reducing the attractiveness of its 3G contracts by setting tight download limits.

Overall, the network speeds were 6% down on the previous test. Free was the worst affected – especially on its own network (elsewhere it is piggy-backing on Orange until it completes its own service) – with a 16.5% increase in the number of low-speed (0-500kbs) downloads. Orange was next, with a 3% rise and SFR just ahead on 1.5%.

However, Free has threatened to launch legal action against Que Choisir contesting the methods used for the study, which it said was biased.
Photo: UFC-Que Choisir

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now