• May 9th, 2012
  • Robert Zak

The French telecommunications business received a big shake-up in January when a new network provider – Free Mobile – appeared on the scene. It offered customers a low-cost alternative to the big networks, and millions of customers flocked over to it to see what all the fuss was about.

The latest sales figures for France Telecom (Orange) reflect this market shake-up, as the network provider reported a sales dip of 7% in Q1 2012. Orange lost an estimated 600,000 customers to Illiad‘s Free Mobile service.

Despite Orange’s market share in France dropping by 1.5%, CEO Stephane Richard saw no reason to despair, saying ‘In a particularly turbulent French market due to the arrival of the fourth mobile operator, the response from Orange was rapid, pragmatic and effective.’

Richard believes that Orange will recover in Q2, partly thanks to Orange’s web-only brand, Sosh, which has reeled in 200,000 customers so far and has been released specifically to rival Free Mobile.

In other parts of the world, Orange’s figures have generally been positive. Sales rose by 2.3% in Spain, and 2% in Rest-of-the-World sales, with a massive 6.8% jump in Africa and the Middle East. While sales in Poland dropped by 3.4%, the recent re-branding of TP to Orange is expected to give them a boost there.

[Source: Mobile Business Briefing]