As we enter the holidays, here are a few important trends in mobile to look for in the coming year — and one market to expect very little from.
Should cellular connections take a back seat to Wi-Fi as we move further into an IP era? That’s the question that new carriers like Republic Wireless pose.
Free Mobile continues to gouge large chunks out of the French mobile market. It added 805,000 subscribers in Q3, bringing its total subscriber base to 4.4 million in just nine months. Meanwhile, France’s big three are still growing but at a much slower pace.
These are the companies, startups and giants alike, that are changing or could potentially change the mobile landscape in the most profound ways.
Adding 1 million customers in the second quarter, French ISP Iliad’s upstart wireless operator is still up-ending France’s mobile market. Though its momentum has slowed since its stellar 2.6 million-activation launch quarter, the company is still growing rapidly at the expense of France’s incumbents.
France’s Bouygues Telecom is working with virtual hotspot network Devicescape to give its smartphone customers seamless access to 8 million open Wi-Fi access points globally, replicating – at least fractionally – one of the key differentiators Iliad’s Free Mobile has on the competition: a 4 million-node offload network.
After just three months of operation, France’s disruptive Free Mobile — which has upset the market with an innovative and controversial offering — has won 2.6 million subscribers, an unprecedented number for a new European launch.
France’s mobile market has been upset by the innovative approach of Xavier Niel’s low-cost operator, Free. But after an initial boost of customers, rivals say the company’s growth is slowing. Is its momentum in danger of draining away before it’s even really started?
Last month we reported on the wireless revolution Iliad’s Free Mobile was leading in France. Now the first casualty reports are in. France Telecom’s Orange reported on Wednesday it lost 201,000 net subscribers in a little more than a month, fleeing to Free’s ultra-cheap plans.
At this year’s Mobile World Congress, you would expect LTE to hog the spotlight, but LTE might find itself overshadowed by a less sexy technology: Wi-Fi. As telecom vendors prep their new porfolios for MWC in two weeks, there is a preponderance of Wi-Fi products.