The closely-contested French telecommunications market had for a long time been dominated by three major network providers – Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom – but in January this year a fourth competitior – Free Mobile – entered the fray.
While the network does not, as the name cunningly suggests, offer free network service or allow people to make free or cheap calls to France, it does offer a cheaper alternative to the Big Three providers.
Free Mobile got off to a strong start in France, gaining several million subscribers in the short time since January. However, a France Telecom executive now claims that the trend has reversed, and that around 1000 subscribers a week are now returning to other networks.
SFR chairman Jean-Bernard Levy agreed, saying “Since mid-March, we have gradually returned to a churn level roughly in line with the same period last year… We see the same people come back [from Free Mobile] disappointed.”
Many people started using Free Mobile as it was offered at a discount to users of the Freebox broadband service. The network provider is yet to reveal its first report on customer numbers, which are expected to be released next month.
[Source: Fierce Wireless]