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Phones and net to go greener

Telecoms firms have pledged to make internet and mobile phone services greener

TELECOMS firms have pledged to make internet and mobile phone services greener.

Industry body the Fédération Française des Télécoms has signed a sustainable development charter on behalf of its member firms.

The firms have pledged to do a better job in areas such as encouraging people to recycle old mobiles. The three French mobile operators collected fewer than 500,000 last year, compared to 15 million sold.

They will introduce incentives from e2 to e280 depending on model and condition. Bouygues used to have such a scheme, but saw collections drop by a quarter after it stopped last year.

The other major effort will be in persuading people to use less electricity for broadband internet and television decoder boxes. New ones will have on/off switches on them (traditional ones have to be unplugged or switched off at the wall). The firms are also to work on technology allowing boxes to be automatically put into a standby mode when not in use.

There are expected to be about 40 million boxes in France by 2012, consuming about 3.3TWh/year. The aim is to reduce this to 2.5TWh by 2020, when there will be about 50 million.

Meanwhile, Orange is now moving into the “quadruple-play” market with a range of combined television, broadband, landline and mobile phone offers.

Orange’s (provisionally entitled) Totem includes an “unlimited” package at €119.90/month, slightly more than comparable offers from competitors.

However, there will be about a dozen versions for varied budgets.

Telecoms watchdog Arcep has recently accused some operators of “arbitrarily” taking certain landline numbers out of the free calls system usually offered with triple or quadruple-play.

SOS Amitié, a helpline for the distressed, had complained that people were being charged by SFR for calling it.

The operators said contracts allowed for some exceptions eg. where calls are clearly not of a personal kind and a body receiving the calls is making money from them. SOS-Amitié has been reinstated as free.

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