French newspaper Le Figaro reports that mobile start-up Free Mobile has already deployed its new network to 27% of the population, augmented with an additional 25% through a roaming agreement with Orange France, technically allowing it to launch services before its January 2012 target date. The paper quotes Free’s chief executive officer Xavier Niel as saying that the newcomer has been testing the fledgling system for more than two weeks, has recruited around 1,000 people and has opened stores in Rouen and Troyes, with a third to follow soon in Angers. More stores are scheduled to come on-stream by the year-end. Further, Free Mobile has pledged to deliver tariff plans that are lower than those first mooted back in 2008. The cellco could unveil an ‘unlimited’ voice calls, SMS and mobile data package from as little as EUR29.99 (USD40.52) per month. The operator could start the ball rolling by targeting Iliad (Free’s) broadband subscriber base, which totalled 4.79 million at 30 September. La Tribune notes that a late-November or early-December launch could give the newcomer a massive leg-up by capitalising on a strong pre-Christmas launch.