The last thing Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and even Iliad need is to kill the golden goose of LTE. No one in the industry will thank Iliad if LTE suffers due to its rather audacious approach.
Free Mobile's recent announcement that it has added LTE to its mobile tariffs has already persuaded one rival to bring forward plans to include LTE in its low-cost tariffs, while the French government has condemned the Iliad-owned upstart operator for what it clearly considers to be a rash move.
France's three battle-scarred incumbent operators have grabbed onto LTE as something of a lifeline by in part because upstart operator Free Mobile was lagging behind on its next-generation strategy, but now Iliad's Free has added LTE to its mobile subscriptions.
LTE adoption is growing at a pace that is considerably faster than the move from 2G to 3G, according to recent research from the GSM Association. The GSMA predicts that there will be 1 billion LTE connections globally by 2017, when LTE networks will also be available to half of the world's population.
Orange has agreed to sell its unit in the Dominican Republic to Luxembourg-based Altice for a total value of US$1.435 billion (€1.1 billion), bringing to an end a process that has lasted for several months.
Mobistar said it is allowing subscribers to its mobile data services to use LTE services for free until the service is launched on a commercial basis in early 2014.
Merger, typically between the No. 3 and No. 4 mobile players, have resulted in incumbents winning greater mobile subscriber market share. However, an easier regulatory environment in Western Europe in the future might lead to more consolidation activity by incumbents, as a means of achieving sustainable margins, cash flow and investor return in large markets.
There was some good news for the European telecoms industry this week, with Vodafone unveiling investment plans and French operators slowing their rates of profit decline, although the latest missive from Moody's reminds us that the industry is still in a fairly fragile. Enter the bold predictions from one analyst company that foresees a wave of M&A sweeping Europe and the world in the coming three years.
Bouygues Telecom and SFR reported slight improvements in their third-quarter results while Iliad registered a slow-down in subscribers to its Free Mobile service, signalling that France's more established mobile operators may finally be regaining their momentum following a price war that has been ravaging France's mobile market since January 2012.
Fiber is king in the Netherlands when it comes to growth, a new report from the country's regulator, Authority for Consumers & Markets, says, with Dutch incumbent KPN and its brands holding 40 to 45 percent of the market.