Free claims competitors hitting below the belt
ARCEP, the French telecom regulator, has said it is going to inspect low-cost wireless provider Iliad's backbone network to make sure it is compliant with its bandwidth licensing requirements. The action takes place after Iliad's competitors raised complaints about Iliad's network performance and customer service. Iliad, which operates its wireless service under the Free name brand, denied the claims, discounting them as false rumors.
Free may have cheapest iPhone usage plans yet
Free's new mobile division has become the fourth major carrier in France to offer the iPhone. The Iliad-owned group plans to carry the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on January 27 with one of the least expensive plans yet. At 20 euros ($25) a month for a 16GB iPhone 4S with unlimited voice and texts as well as 3GB of unfettered data before a cap, Apple's smartphones would cost roughly half as much or less to own as a phone with an equivalent plan.
Vivendi buys Vodafone stake in SFR
France's Vivendi said on Sunday that it was buying Vodafone's 44 percent share of SFR. The deal, worth 7.95 billion Euros ($11.32 billion), gives it complete control of the carrier. It and Vodafone will keep running SFR as a joint venture for three years, after which Vodafone would have to either talk to another provider or enter on its own.
Samsung says Galaxy S could oust iPhone in France
Samsung today vowed to take back a lead in cellphone revenue in France from Apple's iPhone. Although it still has the most popular phones by sheer volume, shipping 39 percent (4.5 million) of phones in the country, the Korean firm is upset that Apple now represents 26 percent of value in the market where Samsung has 25 percent. The Galaxy S and 14 other smartphones due to launch this year would help get Samsung back in the lead by September.
As many as 2m iPhones in France for 2009
The iPhone is already the fourth most popular phone make in France with just two years on shelves, according to data from GfK. Estimates from the analyst group say Apple will have shipped between 1.8 million and 2 million iPhones to France by the end of the year, or 8.5 percent of all phones delivered to the country. It would be eclipsed only Samsung, Nokia and LG, all three of whom are more established and sell many more models.