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French ISP Free Turns Heads With New Wireless Service
New Fourth French Wireless Carrier Shakes Things Up
by Karl Bode 10:20AM Friday Jan 13 2012 Tipped by sonicmerlin See Profile
France took our discarded concept of local-loop-unbundling and implemented it successfully, with users in Paris now being able to get 100 Mbps fiber, VoIP service and a full television lineup for around $40. French ISP Iliad is also prepared to shake up the wireless space with a new service launch that is turning heads here in the States. Dubbed Free Wireless, the service operates on a new network built by Iliad and is severely shaking up a French wireless industry traditionally dominated by just three players.

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Free is offering users a free wireless plan that includes 60 voice minutes and 60 SMS's. Should users want a little more, the next package up offers unlimited calls and texts, access to the ISP's public Wi-Fi hotspots, and 3GB of data for €19.99 (roughly $25). That 3GB data cap involves throttling after you've crossed the 3 GB mark, but it's still a good deal however you'd like to slice it.

If you're a subscriber to Iliad's landline-based services you can get the same package for €14.99 ($19). Following the traditional European approach there is no subsidized handset and you have to buy the phone at cost. However, Free will let you spread the cost of the device out over three years. For example, Free has announced (pdf) that they're offering the iPhone 4S starting at €1, allowing users to pay €19,99 per month over 36 months.

Users who stick on the free plan but don't want to upgrade to the more costly option pay one cent for each additional SMS they send -- compared to around twenty cents both directions here in the States if you don't get an SMS bundle plan. Additional phone minutes on the free plan cost just five cents. French users state that even at that low price point, tethering, VoIP, and P2P are allowed. Users suggest Free is also coming out with an unlimited data plan that should be priced between €10 and €15.

"Up until now you have been cash cows," said Iliad founder Xavier Niel during a press conference introducing France's fourth wireless carrier. "Now you can either call your current operator and ask for the same price or join us."

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JasonOD

@comcast.net

I don't expect this one to last.......

There is reasonably cheap, and then there is no-room-to-breathe cheap. There is no way to survive offering effectively unlimited @ $25mo, so I suspect it's the latter. And how the heck did they ever get ahold of the iphone?

BlackIceXP

join:2005-01-13
Fort Pierce, FL

Re: I don't expect this one to last.......

Wouldn't it be more prudent to adopt a wait and see policy before declaring this new carrier dead on arrival? Until Virgin Mobile recently raised their pricing, they offered a similar plan (although with only 300 voice minutes) for $25, and they're still around.

Most of these price hikes that these companies make in regards to improving customer service, usually just end up lining their pockets anyways.

Like the man said, we're pretty much cash cows.
willzzz

join:2007-05-23
NY
If you haven't been keeping up with the recent GSM industry announcements...

GSM and soon LTE and CSIM (CDMA) = freedom.

Apple will sell the iPhone to ANYONE as long as they are willing to buy the device AT COST. Hell you can go to the Apple US Online Store or any apple retailer and buy the phone outright unlocked for $599.

You then use Apple's iTunes which will insert the correct carrier settings into the phone using Apple's magical program on the computer that inputs the APN settings and other settings (Carrier SMSC server, etc, etc.).

Look the mobile industry is turning into a similar industry with the PC:
PC == Mobile Phone
Service provider (broadband) == Mobile service provider.

AT&T and T-Mobile and very soon VZW and Sprint actually embrace this method if you have the technical IT skills.

AT&T and T-Mobile's APN settings are public on their help sites for IT people... They dissolved all support but if you understand software/IT then you can do it yourself.

Look, GSM and soon CDMA2000 with LTE are protocols just like HTTP, HTTPS and TCP/IP are.

Sure there is industry certification like WiFi /w the FCC to make sure the device conforms to standard radio specs but everything else is simply...

Software!
willzzz

join:2007-05-23
NY

Re: I don't expect this one to last.......

The latest IP-RAN technology in the mobile service providers infrastructure is essentially CARRIER VoIP /w QoS.

AT&T, T-Mobile's, Verizon's and very soon Sprint's (network vision), are all running IP-RAN in their urban upgraded sites.

Essentially their cell site/BTS takes the radio from the tower, encodes it into carrier VoIP and transports it to the MTSO and trunks it over VoIP (including direct erlang if its Mobile to Mobile, this is why Mobile to Any Mobile is cheap... because they are trunking direct inter-carrier VoIP erlangs). Also long-distance is carrier VoIP.

The new IP-RAN stuff of the big 4 is *ALL* VoIP backhaul!

Sprint's upgraded network vision infrastructure actually makes unlimited voice sustainable from a cost/technical perspective!

Now consumers... hmm...
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
said by willzzz:

Look the mobile industry is turning into a similar industry with the PC:
PC == Mobile Phone
Service provider (broadband) == Mobile service provider.

Software!

This is only happening because of Apple's power over their phone and new (possibly software defined) radio technology that allows for LTE over the entire swath of 700 MHz to 2600 MHz spectrum, along with GSM+CDMA functionality.
toro

join:2006-01-27
Scarborough, ON
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Rogers Hi-Speed
said by JasonOD :

There is reasonably cheap, and then there is no-room-to-breathe cheap. There is no way to survive offering effectively unlimited @ $25mo, so I suspect it's the latter. And how the heck did they ever get ahold of the iphone?

I'd have to disagree with you. Just because local telcos and cablecos charge an arm and a leg for a crappy internet connection doesn't mean it does cost them a lot to provide that service. They simply jack up the price as much as they can to make big profits and please investors.
As for the iphone, it's been available to other countries since the 3G version. Only in US they had the stupid long exclusivity contracts with AT&T and later with Verizon and Sprint.
--
Providers: voip.ms, freephoneline, smartcall.ro through asterisk. Hardware: Vonage VDV21, Moto VT2x42, Linksys SPA series, Grandstream HT series, Panasonic KX-TGP5x0
»www.voipfan.net

mech1164
I'll Be Back

join:2001-11-19
Lodi, NJ
said by JasonOD :

There is reasonably cheap, and then there is no-room-to-breathe cheap. There is no way to survive offering effectively unlimited @ $25mo, so I suspect it's the latter. And how the heck did they ever get ahold of the iphone?

This is exactly what we need here. There literally is no reason why we are being held hostage by the big carriers. Well there is, all that lobbying done by them and those lawsuits and local legislation they got passed to outlaw this. I'm the first one to have as much government out of the economy. That being said the FCC and congress let us all down. in this area.
decifal

join:2007-03-10
Bon Aqua, TN
kudos:1

Re: I don't expect this one to last.......

Would be nice to have real competition wouldn't it?
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
said by JasonOD :

There is reasonably cheap, and then there is no-room-to-breathe cheap. There is no way to survive offering effectively unlimited @ $25mo, so I suspect it's the latter. And how the heck did they ever get ahold of the iphone?

It wasn't covered in the summary, but Free isn't "subsidizing" the iPhone. They're just selling them at Apple's retail prices and spreading the cost of the phone over the length of the contract- at 0% interest. You can pay it over 12, 24, or 36 months, and the phone payments are completely separate from the wireless bill- it's all done extremely transparently.

Free is also not a newcomer to the industry. The 3 major French carriers, along with their buddy president Sarkozy, went to extreme lengths to block Free from the market for years. Lawsuits, media manipulation, FUD, government regulation, etc.

Xavier Neil (head of free) has stated he makes money on the 2 euro/month for 60 minutes/60 texts plan.

You have to understand the wireless industry is one of the most profitable industries in the world. The main thing preventing competition is corrupt government regulation of the airwaves and favoritism of incumbents.

Take Verizon's LTE caps for instance. There's nothing preventing Verizon from instituting unlimited bandwidth during nights (12 AM to 8 AM). Instead they offer 2 GB caps and their towers go completely unused at night. I know this b/c on unlimited I get maximum speeds (I'm on a night owl).
etaadmin

join:2002-01-17
Dallas, TX
kudos:1

It's socialist telecommunications...

and should be avoided and banned here in the US.
Springbok

join:2002-09-13
Colleyville, TX

Re: It's socialist telecommunications...

said by etaadmin:

and should be avoided and banned here in the US.

Just making sure; you are sarcastic, right?
etaadmin

join:2002-01-17
Dallas, TX
kudos:1

Re: It's socialist telecommunications...

That's what the emoticon says... so yes I was being sarcastic.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
said by Springbok:

said by etaadmin:

and should be avoided and banned here in the US.

Just making sure; you are sarcastic, right?

Notice how neither "openbox", BF69, "ThrowDemocratsOut" or other similar corporate shills have posted here? They have nothing good to say about competition that harms incumbents, so they wisely keep their mouth shut to avoid looking foolish. When the opportunity strikes to sow confusion, however, they open their mouths up (like when discussing universal healthcare or municipal fiber broadband).

OneEye

join:2006-04-15
Peachtree City, GA

Can't Wait!

I'm serving notice to AT&T.

Once this type service is available in the Atlanta market there will be a little bit more capacity on AT&T's pipe because I wont need it.
maxtite

join:2012-01-15
Andover, MN

European Vacation!

Hey, nice picture of Clark Griswold's family under the Eiffel Tower, circa 1985! That's pre-cell phones and Internet, but if, ten years later, a carrier would have offered $70 flat-rate Internet, the data access landscape would be wildly different today. Agree?

So $40 for this service is a calculated business gamble, and it could pay off big. Core costs have dropped dramatically, and CPE sold at 'cost' makes the carrier value proposition different from their legacy competitors'. Free may be onto something... let's see!
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: European Vacation!

said by maxtite:

Hey, nice picture of Clark Griswold's family under the Eiffel Tower, circa 1985! That's pre-cell phones and Internet, but if, ten years later, a carrier would have offered $70 flat-rate Internet, the data access landscape would be wildly different today. Agree?

So $40 for this service is a calculated business gamble, and it could pay off big. Core costs have dropped dramatically, and CPE sold at 'cost' makes the carrier value proposition different from their legacy competitors'. Free may be onto something... let's see!

100 G trunks are soon to become standard.
percosan

join:2002-03-13
San Francisco, CA

Numericable launches unlimited mobile plan for EUR 19.99

This can only lead to tears ... Free is an MNO where Numericable is a light MVNO.

-p

Numericable launches unlimited mobile plan for EUR 19.99
Monday 23 January 2012 | 11:03 CET

French operator Numericable has launched an unlimited mobile subscription for EUR 19.99 which exactly matches that of new MNO Free Mobile. The cable operator and MVNO stresses that this is the only unlimited mobile service at this price available in stores, with personal customer service, rather than only online as with Free and other operators' low-cost brands. Tongue in cheek, Numericable indirectly comments on Free having restricted its launch prices to the first 3 million customers by saying that its mobile unlimited plan is reserved to the first 60 million customers, or France's entire population. For EUR 19.99 a month new clients or existing cable subscribers can make unlimited calls in France and 40 international destinations in Europe and North America, unlimited SMS and up to 3G of mobile internet. There is no contract tie-in period. Numericable operates a 200-store network in France. Unlike Numericable, Free Mobile chose to reduce the price of its unlimited subscription for existing ADSL customers, to EUR 15.99.