France’s licence auction for the country’s fourth 3G entity has ended with one successful bidder, Free Mobile, a subsidiary fully owned by the Iliad telecoms group.
Free Mobile was denied a French 3G licence when it applied a year ago as it did not have enough funds. Iliad has since grown to become the country’s second largest broadband internet provider. It has now said it will offer a triple play of mobile, fixed line and broadband to increase competition in the French market.
According to Frost and Sullivan’s mobile analyst Saverio Romeo, Iliad is well-placed to expand from its traditional fixed market to a mobile environment.
Said Romeo: “The future of telecommunications lays in the capacity of providing information exchange between machines, humans, and objects. How this will happen is technologically irrelevant for consumers. But in order to happen, players need to run an ‘All IP’ network, a network that is fixed and wireless at the same time. Iliad is entering the high-speed mobile communications market and building up an ‘All IP’ network in the long term.”
However, Romeo added that one of the key challenges for Iliad is the 25 per cent coverage requirement the French government has set. But this could potentially be addressed through network sharing, particularly to cover less densely populated areas.
“An operator that is able to provide fixed-mobile convergence in France will make the market more competitive,” adds Sharifah Amirah, Principal Analyst for Frost & Sullivan Telecoms group. “It is particularly interesting in Iliad’s case, where there is strong synergy with their Internet business.
“New dynamic players will challenge traditional incumbents and drive innovation, ensuring a wider spectrum of choice for consumers. It will be interesting to see how Iliad designs its strategy at the content level and how it will position its convergence products and applications.”