Using time-resolved reflectivity measurements on unaligned and aligned bundled single-wall carbon nanotubes with a pump energy of 1.55 eV, quasi-resonant with the second Van Hoye singularity of semiconducting tubes, a positive sign of the transient reflectivity is detected in unaligned nanotubes. In contrast a negative sign is detected in aligned nanotubes. This discovery addresses a long-standing question showing that in unaligned nanotubes the stronger intertube interactions favor the formation of short-lived free charge carriers in semiconducting tubes. A detailed analysis of the transient reflectivity spectral response shows that the free carriers in the photo-excited state of semiconducting tubes move towards metallic tubes in about 400 fs. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.