After handily won the sprint inception1, Free Mobile2 is now required in the marathon and shows that it is here to stay. Far from being out of breath after his thunderous arrival, the operator continues to rise and has established itself as a unique model of growth in Europe.
In the first six months of the year, Free again won more than 1.5 million mobile customers to reach a total of 6.8 million subscribers or 10.3% market share, eighteen months after its launch. This, while also saving a great half of its fixed activities with 154,000 new customers gained in the first half, it now has a fleet of 5.5 million broadband Internet subscribers. And growth prospects remain strong as the group is 25% mobile market share in the long term.
While Cassandra claimed that he would never win money with packages 2 euros (for two hours unlimited calls and SMS), the operator even the luxury of improving profitability: the EBITDA Operating income (EBITDA) of the group increased by 40% to € 586 million and net income group jumped 78% to 141.8 million euros3. Just launched, the mobile business is already profitable. Analysts were surprised by the return of Free Mobile much higher expectations: the mobile has contributed 54 million euros to Group EBITDA (against a loss of € 44 million a year ago) while the consensus was 13.4 million euros. It's Free Mobile use since the beginning of the most effective frequencies 900 MHz and gradually extended its own network, which makes it less dependent on Orange. He said now cover "more than 50% of the French population" with its mobile network. "We validated the effectiveness of our model, with the first positive contribution of mobile," said Thomas Reynaud, financial director of Iliad.
Investments in the first half fell slightly to 450 million euros against 476 million last year. "There was a little less investment in ADSL, a little more on the mobile. But we are clearly in an investment phase, the amount will be higher in the second half, "said Maxime Lombardini, CEO of Iliad fast cash advance loan. Free and undertakes no "concerned" by the announcement this summer, a sharing agreement between SFR and Bouygues Telecom4, which should enable them to reduce their costs. "We will ensure that such sharing agreements are not locked and do not exclude any operator," said Maxime Lombardini, while the Competition Authority and the ARCEP must still give the green light.
"The battle of Christmas will not fight over 4G"
Maxime Lombardini, CEO of Iliad
Free Mobile does not care about either the proliferation of ads on "4G" where Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom are trying to get ahead. "40% of the French are still 2G, 10 years after the launch of 3G! So 4G will prevail, and we are preparing for, but it will take time. In any case, the battle of Christmas will not be fighting on 4G, "said Maxime Lombardini, without revealing his secret weapon. In April, Xavier Niel, head of Free, had said he was preparing a "surprise". "For now, we'll let the comrades to their ads," he told Europe 1 radio, promising "something new." For now, the group said more than 1,000 sites that may be issued in future 4G in the frequency band 2600 Mhz. For 4G, Free has also expressed interest in buying 1800 Mhz frequencies that will be released by Bouygues Telecom and hopes to recover a lot of frequency 700 MHz auction which would be scheduled for late 2014.
The group, which plans to launch in the subsidized phones by the end of the year to expand its addressable market is more elaborate. He declined to draw conclusions from the test operation conducted in June on venteprivée5 site, where he sold two days a package with 6 GB mobile included for 39.99 euros per month.
Some thought Free had eaten its white bread. These good interim results, with improved profitability, show that this is not the case. At the Paris Bourse, the Iliad being parent for Free earned early afternoon 2.78% to 186.55 euros in a market up nearly 2%.