On February 27 2002 the French Competition Council decided to suspend the sale by Wanadoo, a subsidiary of France Télécom, of its Extense asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) packs in France Télécom's sales offices until France Télécom provided certain technical and operational tools to facilitate the ordering procedure of ADSL access for its clients. This decision was taken pursuant to a claim filed by T-Online France (a member of the Deutsche Telekom group) relating to anti-competitive practices by France Télécom in the provision of ADSL lines.

France Télécom is responsible for adapting end users' telephone lines so as to allow internet access through ADSL technology. T-Online France accused France Télécom of creating a structural discrimination between internet service providers (ISPs) to the detriment of Wanadoo's competitors. Wanadoo, unlike other ISPs, benefits from technical and operational tools provided by France Télécom that allow it to fill orders for ADSL access faster than other ISPs. Moreover, Wanadoo benefits from France Télécom's extensive network of sale agencies throughout France.

The Competition Council also required France Télécom to suspend an offer which it planned to make in partnership with ISPs within supermarkets. This offer would have allowed France Télécom to limit the freedom of ISPs to determine prices by setting down a retail price and by limiting the distributor's remuneration.

On March 14 2002 France Télécom lodged an appeal against the Competition Council's decision before the Paris Court of Appeal. This appeal was rejected on April 9 2002.

For further information on this topic please contact Eric Morgan de Rivery or Carole Arribes at Lovells by telephone (+33 1 53 67 47 47) or by fax (+33 1 53 67 47 48) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).