MOBILE phone contracts should be shortened to give users more freedom to shop around, the French telecoms regulator has recommended.
Arcep has drawn up a list of 30 suggestions to make the French communications market more competitive and improve transparency for customers.
The ideas, which have been put out to public consultation, include requiring operators to offer contracts of either 12 or six months.
At the moment, some the most competitively priced mobile phone contracts run for 24 months, which was set as the legal maximum in 2008.
The regulator has also called for operators to make it clearer how much of the monthly fee goes towards reimbursing the cost of the phone and how much relates to the actual calls and services.
Arcep says the current system, where customers are locked in for long periods, discourages competition and makes it difficult for consumers to switch deals.
It also believes that the loyalty bonuses offered to mobile phone users - such as free handset upgrades after a certain period - penalise people who want to keep their existing phone.
The three main mobile operators in France - Orange, SFR and Bouygues - signed a charter earlier this year pledging to simplify their tariffs and allow consumers to "unlock" their phone free of charge and use a competitors' SIM cards.
The new proposals from Arcep make no mention of mobile pay-as-you-go tariffs, some of which have a validity period as short as four days