Iliad launched its Italian network alongside an aggressively priced promotion, echoing tactics the company used when it triggered a fierce price war in its home market of France.
The operator – using the brand name Iliad rather than the Free moniker used in France – unveiled its opening offer of €5.99 for unlimited minutes, texts and 30GB of data. The deal is available for the first million customers to sign up and is valid “forever”, according to the company.
Its opening offer is available online and through automated Simbox retail terminals in major urban areas, and is the only tariff currently available on its website.
The deal is significantly cheaper than offers from its three main rivals.
Telecom Italia’s TIM brand starts its SIM-only deals at a discount price of €12 for unlimited calls and 2GB of data, though a number of streaming services are zero-rated on the deal. Its 8GB version is €18 per month with the higher data option – offering unlimited – priced at €49.
Vodafone Italia’s cheapest deal is €10 per month for 1,000 minutes, 1,000 SMS and 5GB of 3G data. A larger data allowance, and 4G, costs €30 for 10GB with unlimited calls and texts.
Wind Tre’s Wind brand offers unlimited minutes, 1,000 texts and 10GB for €12 per month.
Iliad’s tactics will come as no surprise to its rivals in the country. In November 2016 then Telecom Italia CEO Flavio Cattaneo said his company was preparing “counter measures” against the entry of a player aiming at “cost-conscious” customers.
During 2018, Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said its Italian unit had increased allowances and attempted to push converged deals to counter the “heating-up” of the market, while Iliad’s entry was a direct result of the merger of CK Hutchison and VimpelCom’s businesses to create WindTre.
Market leadership in the country is currently a strongly fought contest with GSMA Intelligence estimating at the end of Q1 the three operators held between 30 and 32 per cent of the market each, with smaller, specialists players contributing the remainder.