French operators launch triple and quad-play packages to combat Free

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SFR and Virgin Mobile launched aggressive new pricing packages for triple-play and quad-play services to combat cut-price offers from Iliad's Free Mobile.

SFR launched this week a triple-play offer including Internet, HDTV and unlimited fixed line calls for €14.90 per month, instead of the normal €31.90, for one year to new subscribers. SFR mobile subscribers receive a discount of €5, lowering the triple-play subscription to €9.90 per month. However, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro, SFR has limited this offer to the first 5,000 customers who subscribe to this promotional campaign by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, Virgin Mobile has launched its new H@PPY4 quad-play service that includes two hours of mobile or fixed voice calls, unlimited text messages, 300 TV channels and ADSL Internet access up to 25Mbps for €29.90, according to Les Echos. A package for €39.99 is also planned to include four hours of voice calls, together with unlimited texting and data.

To address Free Mobile's low-cost voice and text offer, Virgin Mobile will introduce on April 18 a new mini-package costing €4.99 that will include 45 minutes of voice calls and 450 text messages.

Whether French MVNOs will be able to offer low-cost services in an attempt to compete with Free Mobile is causing some concern, given that their wholesale prices are set by the existing network operators. In order to better understand the impact, the French Competition Authority has opened an investigation into the ability of MVNOs to adapt to the new market conditions.

For more:
- see this Le Figaro (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Les Echos (translated via Google Translate)

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