The French ISP has been told by French digital economy minister Fleur Pellerin to stop blocking online ads, because she is ‘very attached’ to the open internet. However, she also hinted that she may not be entirely in favor of net neutrality.
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 Free Mobile launched with enormous hoopla in January, but it sat on a key component of its innovative mobile strategy until today. Free has opened up 4 million Wi-Fi hotspots to its smartphone customers, creating the world’s largest carrier-run mobile data offload network.
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.
An alternate wireless network has been emerging in the U.S., one not built by the mobile operators but by cable providers. Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast have all launched reams of Wi-Fi hotspots in their MSO footprints, and last week Bright House joined the club.
Xavier Niel, the maverick founder of Free.fr broadband service, will redefine the mobile landscape with Free Mobile, a new approach thanks to a cutting-edge network that blends Wi-Fi, HSPA+ 3G, femtocells and its all-fiber backbone, offering unlimited voice, texting and data for cheap.
French telecom group Iliad, which owns Europe
On my recent trip to Paris, I had the chance to meet up with the man behind what is arguably one of France’s most dynamic technology companies — one that I feel epitomizes a true, 21st century broadband service provider. Here is a look into Xavier Niel’s Free.fr.