France's Orange ordered to pay Verizon $735K over wholesale access dispute

A commercial court in France has ordered Orange (NYSE: ORAN) to pay $735,472 to Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) for overcharging the U.S.-based telco for access to its copper network. It found that the incumbent service provider was charging 2 percent above its actual costs for wholesale copper access.

France has been a big target for Verizon Business. It has extended its suite of IP and Ethernet services into the country for U.S. clients that extended their presence in the country and want to work with one service provider.

While Verizon Business has built out its fiber network into countries like France, it still must rent copper and fiber-based facilities from local service providers such as Orange to deliver services to its clients. 

Earlier this year, the telco also established a partnership with alternative provider SFR Business Team to deliver business services to customers that are either based in France or have operations in the country. In addition to delivering MPLS-based virtual private network services, Verizon will provide access to its global network while SFR will provide in-country services.

But it appears that Verizon is just one of several plaintiffs that have an issue with Orange's wholesale rates.

The court, according to a report in Les Echos, has not decided on similar cases brought against France's former monopoly telco by BT (NYSE: BT), Colt and Completel, which are claiming a total of $36.2 million in damages.

For more:
- Les Echos has this article (translation)
- Telecompaper also has this article (sub req.)

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