Free takes aim at Orange in subsidy spat - Mobile World Live

Free takes aim at Orange in subsidy spat

26 JUN 2018

French challenger operator Free Mobile continued its battle against handset subsidies by taking Orange to court over its practices, Les Echos reported.

Earlier this year Free, a subsidiary of Iliad, picked up a victory in a legal battle over the status of handset subsidies as a form of consumer credit. Such deals lock customers into a long-term arrangement with an operator.

The operator is targeting Orange, the biggest player in the market, having already had a run-in with second-placed SFR. Iliad founder Xavier Niel said the two, along with peer Bouygues Telecom, had provided “tens of millions” in credit to customers, the newspaper said.

Free offers consumers SIM-only contracts, with devices available on instalment plans, rather than bundling the two into an integrated package. Customers locked into long-term deals are a segment of the market the disruptive operator is unable to target.

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