Free Mobile Starts French Revolution

French mobile operator Iliad said its Free Mobile service added 805,000 subscribers in Q3, bringing its total subscriber base to 4.4 million in just nine months, attracting 60% of new subscribers in France.

The Free brand is not really “free”, but it’s pretty inexpensive compared to the other operators.

They offer two ‘no-contract’ plans. One offers 60 minutes of voice calls for 2 euros ($2.55) per month, and the other offers unlimited voice, SMS, MMS and internet access for EUR19.99 per month.

Iliad set off a price war and caused a deep change in the structure of the French phone marketplace. With the French market only having grown by 854,000 during this period, many Free customers defected from established operators.

The new low-cost operator now claims to have a 6.4 percent market share with 4.4 million subscribers after launching at the beginning of the year. Iliad posted a 53 percent rise in third-quarter revenue to 819 million euros ($1.04 billion).

France currently has 4 mobile networks, Orange, SFR, Bouygues Télécom and Free, all of which are licensed for GSM and UMTS. French telecom regulator Arcep says the total number of mobile service customers in metropolitan France and the overseas territories stood at 70.4 million.

Vivendi’s SFR will start 4G service in six French cities by the end of the first half of 2013, including Marseille, the country’s second-most populated city after Paris. The French capital will be covered later on.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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