France’s Iliad aims to capture up to 15 per cent of the Italian mobile market, and could make its entrance as the country’s fourth operator by early summer 2017, reported Bloomberg.
According to sources, the company, controlled by French entrepreneur Xavier Niel, will adopt similar tactics to those it used to shake up competition in the French market. This includes a focus on selling lower-cost services online, rather than opening and investing in retail shops, which is where existing operators do much of their business.
Iliad is set to enter the Italian market after the European Commission approved a merger between the Italian units of Hutchison and VimpelCom, creating Italy’s largest operator.
Key to the approval was a commitment to sell assets to Iliad, ensuring that Italy maintains a four-operator regime.
Iliad, through Free Mobile, proved something of a disruptor in France, setting off a price war in the country.
Bloomberg sources said its managers are confident it can also offer lower prices in Italy, with a target of nabbing 10 per cent to 15 per cent of market share, with the strategy likely to impact current market leader Telecom Italia and number two player Vodafone Italy.
Reuters reported that Telecom Italia CEO Flavio Cattaneo insisted the company is not worried about Iliad’s pending entrance in the market, and is already planning counter measures.
“Iliad’s entry into Italy does not worry us. Italy is a very different market to France,” he said. “Iliad cannot take advantage of the surprise effect and from our side there will be counter measures adequate and coherent with our positioning on the market.”