Free kick again. Nearly two years after having changed the mobile market with its 3G, it recreated the surprise in 4G. While its competitors intend “recreate value” with their mobile broadband subscriptions, the troublemaker of the French telecom market today include 4G in its current offerings without changing prices.
Suddenly, the package of Free, the “low cost” of Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom brands have equaled, returned a net interest. If one is able to see clearly.•
cheapest offer 4G . The package with Free 4G is no longer the economic challenge the market. These deals start indeed to 28.99 euros per month in NRJ Mobile, Bouygues Telecom 29.99 euros or 30.99 euros per month at Orange. To see more aggressive pricing, it will be offering 4G to 19.99 euros per month Virgin Mobile promised for next spring. Or to wait for a reply from B & You (Bouygues Telecom) or another brand “low cost” operator.•
Subscription most generous . Free offers no less than 20 gigabytes download 4G (and still 3GB 3G). This is significant. The cheapest of the other operators packages usually contain between 1 and 3 GB of data. The future supply of Virgin Mobile is announced with 5 GB download, even four times less than mobile Free. The quota for Free, it is possible to watch a twenty films per month in standard quality. So far Bouygues Telecom was best positioned with its offer to 16 GB charged EUR 59.99 per month.
• No additional service . Free has not imagined additional service for its subscribers to 4G. Other operators took them a habit to include a series. Orange and SFR in example respectively two and four SIM cards to take advantage of high-speed mobile Internet on a smartphone and a tablet. These packages are often associated with areas remote storage in the cloud, or TV packages.• Reduced
major cities coverage. Free activated 700 4G antennas. They allow it to serve 1,000 communes, but we do not know the percentage of the population. Orange announces cover 50% of the population with 4000 sites and Bouygues Telecom, 63% with 5600 antennas. When consulting the coverage map posted by the operator, it is noted that only large cities are covered, and not always in full. Historic centers, where it is more complicated to install antennas, are often ignored. “Coverage can vary from one to three depending on the operator,” recalled Tuesday the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Benoît Hamon, and his colleague in charge of the digital economy, Fleur Pellerin.•
good reception outside buildings . 4G Free passes on the 2.6 GHz band, so-called high frequency. It takes a lot of antennas to cover the territory with such frequency and in-building penetration is not optimal. The other three operators have a license to deploy 4G in the 800 MHz band, described as golden frequencies. Free will have to wait several months before they have a roaming agreement with SFR in this band, so that the network will take time to unfold in the countryside.
Regarding rates, “the wide frequency band available Free 4G also enables it to offer its customers the highest maximum theoretical throughput up to 150 Mbit / s,” said the operator. The first tests will know more in a few days on the network quality. The first tests rencensés by the specialized site Univers Freebox are considered “very encouraging.”
• A laptop that should probably change . 4G requires a compatible phone. At launch, Free relied on Park smartphones purchased from other operators that it was possible to unlock, usually at no extra cost. Subscribers who have subscribed to a 4G plan for competitors this time are at the very beginning of their commitment. Free only 10,000 smartphones compatible 4G network traffic over seven million SIM, says one of them. For subscribers, the phone 4G cheapest sold by Free is 227 euros.