FT Orange prepares to fight Free Mobile on price

France Telecom (FT) Orange promised a quick response if nascent operator Free Mobile offers services that undercut the larger French operators on price. 

In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, FT CEO Stéphane Richard said the company has prepared an "arsenal" of commercial activities to combat whatever Iliad's Free Mobile has to offer when it launches next week.

"Free will not win all the customers with a unique offer," said Richard. "We are trying to offer the best for each category of user." He added that a particular strength of FT's is that "we are simply the best network, as confirmed by the regulator. We have 1,200 stores, 35,000 employees to answer customer questions and 10,000 technicians."

Richard also outlined plans to test LTE in various locations across France this year that would lead to a commercial deployment of the technology in 2013. "2012 will be devoted to full-scale experiments on several sites, including one in Paris," he told Le Figaro. "The commercial launch will take place in 2013. For subscribers, this will increase download rates by 10X."

The FT chief also indicated that he was open to discussions with Free Mobile over allowing them to share FT's LTE network. The company already has a partnership agreement to provide Free Mobile with access to its 3G infrastructure.

For more:
- see this Le Figaro article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Telecom Paper article

Related Articles:
Free Mobile preps brutal price war with French operators
French operators bid for 800MHz spectrum, as government seeks €1.8B from auction
Fitch: French LTE auction will trigger network sharing opportunities 
Report: Free Mobile files complaint over French LTE auction rules
FT Orange fights back with low-cost 'Sosh' offering
Brutal price war hits SFR and Bouygues Telecom's results

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