Free: alea jacta est

Unsurprisingly, Virgin Mobile / Numericable / Bollore & Co didn't bid for France's 4th 3G license*, leaving Free Mobile as the only official candidate.

"Free Mobile" is neither Free nor Iliad but a special vehicle (100% Iliad) likely to welcome new investors on board... should it win.

Losing a beauty contest of one would be embarrassing. Not finding MNOs eager to invest and bring some know-how after winning could be even more embarrassing.

ORASCOM dropped from the race earlier this month but remains as deep-pocketed as a few days ago. Other players stay tuned, including MVNOs.

French regulator ARCEP should give its verdict by Christmas. Free targets a Time To Market 18 months later.

French consumers also expect gifts from the new entrant, but incumbents will probably anticipate as well, donning brand new Santa Claus suits a few months before #4's arrival on the market.

mot-bile 2009

* see
Iliad's 20091028 communique

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