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SFR defends itself against critics of Arcep

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Alain Weill, CEO of Altice Europe, parent company of SFR, Paris, March 20th. ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

Frying on the line between SFR and Arcep. Patrick Drahi's operator sharply attacked the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts on Wednesday (December 12th). Altice Europe's CEO, Alain Weill, took advantage of a hearing before the Senate's Economic Affairs Committee to respond to the regulator's criticism, judging his report 'Incomplete' and of “Very bad faith”.

The telecom policeman had pinned the operator to the red square the day before, during the annual review of its platform Alert the Arcep. Launched in October 2017, it allows subscribers to report problems they encounter with operators. In its report, the regulator observes in particular that SFR is the telecommunications operator that has concentrated the most complaints on the 34,000 testimonials received during this first year of operation. In detail, according to figures released Tuesday by Arcep, which extrapolates over 100,000 customers, SFR displays between 30 to 35 alerts, ahead of Free, which accounts for 25 to 30 alerts, Bouygues (20 to 25), and Orange (15 to 20).

Report deemed “awkward”

In parallel with these findings, a poll commissioned by the regulator on the level of satisfaction of subscribers also highlighted the operator as the bad student of the customer relationship, SFR posting a score of 1.7 out of 5 against Free (2.6 ), Orange (2.2) and Bouygues Telecom (2.2). A rating gap between operators “Not that important said the boss of Altice. Faced with the dysfunctions noted, in particular those concerning termination difficulties, the telecoms constable then announced the opening of an investigation procedure with regard to SFR, which could lead to a formal notice and financial penalties if the operator does not rectify the situation.

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A decision that made the subsidiary of Altice jump. “Firstly, Arcep does not have the mission to play consumer associations, it's not its mission, but, moreover, it does it very clumsily”Weill told senators that the regulator is out of his role.

“I regret that some of their initiatives, too numerous for my taste, are to denounce the work or the difficulties of the operators without encouraging them in parallel”, he continued, adding that this “Snapshot on the year 2018 does not correspond to reality” and can be “Prejudicial” for the company, especially for recruitments.

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