French mobile network provider SFR has entered the ongoing price war in the French wireless market by including 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) access in its budget RED offering. According to a company press release, subscribers to the new RED plan, costing EUR25.99 (USD35.44) per month, can benefit from a 5GB data allowance, unlimited SMS and MMS, unlimited calls in France and free access to YouTube from 14 January 2014.
Meanwhile, Martin Bouygues, CEO of telco Bouygues Telecom, said in an interview with local newspaper Le Figaro that next year the company intends to cut the prices of its fixed broadband services to counter its rival Iliad (Free). The executive revealed that the new offer will be EUR150 per year cheaper than its rivals’ plans; Mr Bouygues also reportedly challenged Iliad CEO Xavier Niel to beat the offer if ‘he is able to’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Free Mobile sparked a price war in the French wireless market in December 2013, when it revealed that subscribers to its Free Mobile Plan would now benefit from download speeds of up to 150Mbps, at no additional cost. By way of comparison, rival Bouygues Telecom’s cheapest 4G plan costs EUR29.99 (for 3GB of data), while Orange provides 4G services for EUR39.99 per month (including 4GB of data) and SFR charges EUR42.99 for 3GB of data over its 4G network. Subsequently, Bouygues Telecom and Orange France hit back at Iliad by offering free 4G LTE services with their respective low-cost packages. Meanwhile, Orange France CEO Stephane Richard addressed the escalating price battle by threatening to end its roaming agreement with Free Mobile, by stating: ‘Orange may very well do without the roaming agreement, but is the [opposite] certain?’