Canal+ claims unfair competition from Orange

Canal+ has filed a complaint with French antitrust authorities against France Telecom’s Orange, accusing the carrier of unfair competition in bundling its Internet, telephone and other services to attract customers. The complaint, filed with France’s Autorite de la Competition, accuses Orange of taking advantage of its control over the broadband market by tying its cable services — particularly football and movie programming — to its Internet and telephone services. In announcing the complaint, Canal Plus CEO Bertrand Meheut said that Orange sells the sports programming and other cable content for less than they’re worth in order to attract customers for the other services.

Orange instantly hit back in a statement calling the complaint “yet another episode in a long series of attacks carried out by the Vivendi Group and Canal+.” The company accused Canal Plus of trying to “kill off all form of competition” through lobbying in the media. Orange added that Canal Plus “remains in an ultra-dominant position.”

The France Telecom unit further claimed that Canal Plus was trying to “undermine Orange’s efforts to launch a brand-new television service” while acting to “reconstitute the monopolistic position that it believed” it had achieved after purchasing then-rival satellite TV provider TPS in 2006.

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