The mobile price war in France continues to have its winners and losers, with both Vivendi and Bouygues Telecom reporting worsening profits in the first quarter as Iliad boasted that its mobile revenue tripled in the same period.
Vivendi and Iliad founder Xavier Neal have reportedly waded into the Dailymotion saga by each offering to buy the video-sharing company from France Telecom .
SFR could be the next operator after Maroc Telecom to face the Vivendi axe, although the French media and telecoms group insisted it is in no rush to sell anything, especially at the wrong price.
Vivendi is considering splitting off its French mobile network subsidiary, SFR, into a separate company, according to a Bloomberg report. The SFR discussions follow failed attempts to get acceptable bids for Vivendi's other properties, Activision Blizzard and Brazilian broadband company GVT.
The cost of building Free Mobile's mobile network ate into Iliad's net profit in 2012, although the French fixed and mobile operator said it was still in the black and achieved an almost 50 percent increase in sales to €3.15 billion last year, with over €840 million generated by the new mobile unit.
SFR will introduce new mobile tariff plans that will make it "the cheapest in the market," according to CEO Stéphane Roussel. The new plans will see SFR, France's No. 2 operator, reduce the majority of its monthly subscriptions by €10, according to La Tribune.
The French consumer association UFC has criticised low-cost operator Free Mobile's 3G service for being mediocre. The UFC claims it has been continuously receiving complaints from consumers about the service since April 2012, according to Les Echos .
French construction group Bouygues SA pumped €678 million into its Bouygues Telecom unit, providing much-needed funding for the mobile and fixed operator and increasing its stake to 90.53 per cent from 89.55 per cent.
The key role that "maverick" operators such as Hutchison Whampoa's 3 and France's Free Mobile play in driving down the price of mobile services has been brought into sharp focus by a new report, which argues that consumers in markets without these "independent challengers" pay far more for their mobile data services.
French mobile operator SFR is to maintain its capital expenditures at between €1.5 billion and €1.6 billion in 2013, despite the ongoing price competition sparked by the arrival of Iliad's Free Mobile at the start of 2012.