French alternative telecoms service provider Iliad (Free) booked record revenues of EUR2.04 billion (USD2.84 billion) in 2010, up 4.3% year-on-year, driven by strong demand for its Free branded services which offset a weak showing for Alice-brand products. Iliad, which is a key player in the triple-play market and the holder of the fourth mobile licence, reported full-year net income of EUR313 million, up 78% on FY2009, and said its EBITDA margin improved by 1.1 percentage points to 40% – aided by unbundling initiatives and cost controls.
In 2010 Iliad concluded the formal integration of internet service provider (ISP) Alice, acquired from Telecom Italia, which generated EUR83 million in EBITDA for the group. At the end of December 2010 Iliad group counted 4.53 million broadband subscribers, up from 4.46 million a year earlier, including 3.97 million Free users (up 190,000 y-o-y) and 565,000 for Alice (down 113,000). At the same date around 89.2% of the operator’s high speed internet connections were on unbundled switches, up 3.8 percentage points in a year.
Earlier this month CommsUpdate reported that Iliad’s new wireless arm Free Mobile signed a 2G roaming agreement with Orange France and agreed to extend this provision to include 3G services. In a press release, Orange confirmed that following a series of negotiations over the last few months, the two firms signed a national roaming agreement on 2 March 2011 for their respective 2G networks in France. Further, Free Mobile and Orange have extended the terms of the agreement to include their respective 3G networks. This part of the agreement will take effect once Free Mobile has deployed a network that covers 25% of the French population. Under the terms of its licence, Free Mobile is required to deploy a network that provides coverage to at least 90% of the population by 2018. Iliad also plans to have connected approximately 100,000 FTTH subscribers by end-2011 and is targeting a 24-25% broadband market share in the long-term. Its nascent mobile arm hopes to reach population coverage of 27% by January 2012.