France Telecom exec claims Free Mobile now losing customers

Having gained several million customers since its launch in January, Free Mobile is now said to be steadily losing around 1,000 subscriber per week, according to a France Telecom executive.

Number portability requests have returned to levels prior to the arrival of Free Mobile in the market, according to Alice Holzmann, marketing director of Orange France. "The mass migration to Free Mobile has returned to a normal level," Holzmann told the French newspaper Les Echos.

The Orange exec claimed that around 1,000 Free Mobile customers are returning to one of the three major operators--Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom--each week, having been disappointed with the service being provided by Free Mobile.

This trend was confirmed by SFR CEO Jean-Bernard Levy. "Since mid-March, we have gradually returned to a churn level roughly in line with the same period last year," he told the French newspaper La Tribune. "We see the same people come back [from Free Mobile] disappointed."

Holzmann said she believes that Free Mobile's customer growth has stalled over the past few weeks, and it was only able to build its user base by offering heavily discounted pricing to its 4.8 million DSL subscribers. About two-thirds of Free Mobile's customer base is thought to have come from users of its Freebox DSL broadband service.

Free Mobile has yet to provide any information as to customer numbers. The operator's parent company, Iliad, is expected to unveil this data during its quarterly earnings summary planned for next month.

For more:
- see this Les Echos article (translated via Google Translate)
- see the La Tribune article (translated via Google Translate)

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