How Free Mobile is already driving data prices down in France

After little more than six months of operation, Xavier Niel’s French mobile operator Free.fr seems to be having a serious impact on the local market. Not only is it stealing millions of customers from bigger rivals, but it’s forcing them to radically alter their price plans too.

Today in Mobile

Lynette Luna over at Fierce Wireless takes a second look at the N97, Nokia’s latest flagship device that should compete well against the iPhone, Palm Pre and BlackBerry devices. But while those other gadgets all enjoy carrier subsidies in the U.S., the N97 rocks a ridiculous $700 price tag and no operator partner. Nokia continues to dominate in emerging markets, as we’ve noted before, but the Finnish company will have to soften its stance with its new mobile Internet services and play nice with carriers if it hopes to compete in the smartphone space stateside.

Today in Mobile

Well, that didn’t take long. Nokia launched its much-anticipated Ovi in the wee hours today, and already the company has apologized for “performance issues” after receiving complaints about sluggish responsiveness and sign-in errors (not to mention its sparse library and clunky UI). I applaud Nokia’s aggressive strategy of becoming a mobile-Internet-services company, and I still have high hopes for Ovi. But its feeble debut will be noticed by consumers and developers alike.