Iliad said profits rose sharply in the first six months of 2015 as the enfant terrible of the French telecoms sector continued to build its mobile market share and expand network coverage.
Altice, whose €10 billion ($11.2 billion) bid for French operator Bouygues Telecom was rejected this week, a nnounced a restructuring that will see the company merge with its new Dutch company called Altice NV to strengthen its ability to make future acquisitions.
Altice tabled an offer to acquire Bouygues Telecom via its French unit Numericable-SFR in a proposal said to be valued at about €10 billion ($11.4 billion) to €11 billion, although the offer price has not yet been confirmed.
Iliad reported a 7 per cent increase in revenue for the first quarter of 2015 due to strong mobile sales, and confirmed its target of achieving more than 10 per cent group EBITDA growth for the year as a whole.
Iliad said its Free Mobile business achieved a market share of 15 per cent by the end of 2014 and is targeting a share of 25 per cent in the long term.
Iliad lived up to its promise of launching a new offer for Free fixed-line subscribers, but fears that the company's Free Mobile unit would start yet another price war on the French mobile market appear to be unfounded--at least for now.
France has been a highly interesting market to watch since January 2012, when enfant terrible Free Mobile launched its low-cost mobile plans and changed competition on the mobile market forever. Since then we have seen the emergence of new brands such as Sosh and a price war that continues to have repercussions for all market players.
Altice is reportedly stepping up its plans to buy the country's third-largest operator in a move that would further consolidate France's telecoms market.
Bouygues Telecom looks set to face another difficult year after analysts revised previous EBITDA forecasts downwards for 2014 and said they expect to see further declines in earnings in 2015.
France's telecoms regulator Arcep has awarded spectrum in the 1800 MHz frequency band to Free Mobile, which will be able to use the airwaves for the expansion of its LTE network across the country.