France outsider Free Mobile primed its 4G offering, as parent Iliad announced revenue from its mobile business grew by 18 per cent in the first half of 2015.
Free, the country’s newest operator which has adopted a disruptive pricing strategy, has more than doubled its internet fair usage allowance for 4G from 20 GB to 50 GB, while keeping the price unchanged.
The operator claims to offer the best allowance for 4G in the French market. The price of the Free Mobile Plan stays at €20 per month or €16 per month for subscribers to its Freebox service.
In addition to data, the mobile plan includes ‘unlimited’ domestic calls and text and an attractive deal on roaming.
The operator made 820,000 net additions in the first half of 2015, making it the leading recruiter of mobile subscribers for 14 consecutive quarters, according to parent Iliad. At end-June, it had a total of 10.9 million subscribers, of which 2.4 million used its 4G service.
Free’s market share in the country is now 16 per cent, with a long term aim of hitting 25 per cent.
Mobile revenue grew by 18 per cent to €880 million in the first half of the year, including a 23 per cent jump in service revenues.
Group profitability was impacted by a number of factors, including better mobile coverage which increased the volume of traffic carried on Free’s own network, rather than on rivals’ infrastructure. Indeed, despite adding more European countries to its roaming offering, the mobile business widened its EBITDA margin.
Iliad defines Free’s 16 per cent market share as a “critical mass” in France’s mobile market, enabling it to spread costs to good effect across both fixed and mobile businesses, and also to benefit from economies of scale, including for advertising and administrative costs.
In the first half of 2015, the operator opened more than 800 3G sites and nearly 1,900 4G sites. It currently covers 50 per cent of the French population with its 4G network, with the aim of reaching 60 per cent by end of 2015.