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France Telecom goes flat-rate—As goes France, so does the world?

About two weeks ago, France Telecom (www.francetelecom.com) moved out of a rate-zone pricing scheme and into flat-rate pricing, with landline calls made between any points within mainland France costing the same. As goes France, so will the rest of the world?

On October 21, a single rate went into effect for France telecom users, affecting seven million residential customers under the general pricing scheme.  Prices for those customers went down around 25 percent for connection charges, 58 percent on per minute rates at peak calling time and a whopping 69 percent for off-peak rates.

Call rates from an FT landline to Internet telephone number — defined as beginning with 09 7 – are now also charged as local calls.  

FT customers living in overseas areas – defined as French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St Martin-St Barthelemy –are also reaping savings, with reductions of about 20 percent on calls to mobiles in mainland France and proportional reductions in line with the FT reductions.

Will other phone companies follow FT’s lead into simplified pricing?  When the company introduced AMR-WB and mobile HD voice service last year, it didn’t take long for other European carriers to start talking about their plans for wideband voice.

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