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Free accused of mobile 'fraud'

Consumer group says quality of Free Mobile network is so poor that it constitutes a breach of contract

CONSUMER group UFC-Que Choisir is suing Free Mobile for “fraudulent commercial practices”

UFC, the equivalent of Which? in the UK, said there was a “real problem with the quality” of Free Mobile service and that the organisation “is not respecting its contract with customers”.

The action comes a year after the launch of Free Mobile, France's fourth mobile network. Free is still renting parts of its network from Orange while it continues to construct its own.

UFC highlighted numerous complaints with data-usage on the 3G network. It described the sluggish downloads of application, music streaming and videos on YouTube or Dailymotion as “stunning”.

The association said: “All these elements seem to indicate that Free Mobile is operating in a manner to discourage data consumption to avoid paying Orange for the data.”

In an interview with Le Figaro the head of Free, Xavier Niel, said: “You don't get five million subscribers without a service of the top level, especially with top-level offers.”

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