Low-cost Free stirs up French mobile market
Low-cost telecom company Free stirred up France's mobile phone market on Tuesday by announcing an offer that includes 4G data services without additional cost to the customer.
The company -- which burst into existence by pushing down prices for home telephone, television and Internet service -- did the same for mobile phones when it became France's fourth operator in 2012.
Forced into a price war, France's main operators -- Orange, SFR and Bouygues -- saw earnings slump, but were hoping to recover by charging a premium for the new generation service.
Free also said it would provide even more data as part of is standard 20 euro ($27) per month package.
The announcement hit the share price of its competitors. Shares in Orange dropped 3.0 percent 9.25 euros. Bouygues fell 3.1 percent to 26.86 euros. SFR-owner Vivendi slid 2.3 percent to 18.19 euros.
Shares in Free parent company Iliad, owned by tycoon Xavier Niel, climbed 0.66 percent to 174.40 euros.
© 2013 AFP