The chief financial officer of French telecoms group Iliad has said that the company is expecting its newly launched cellular network operator Free Mobile to take a 15%-25% market share and to turn a profit ‘in the medium to long term’. Thomas Reynaud told Reuters: ‘It took other European players between five and seven years to be profitable after launch. We will try to get there more quickly.’ He added that network build-out was on track and that Free Mobile hopes to have 2,500 mobile towers in operation by year-end, although it is facing delays receiving permits to construct towers in some areas. In Paris, for example, Free Mobile has just ten towers and it needs around 300 for full coverage; environmental groups are opposing some of the group’s rollout plans, which could lead to delays of up to two years in some cases.
Free Mobile has had an immediate impact on the French mobile market since its launch in January this year. It had attracted 2.6 million subscribers and garnered almost 4% market share by the end of March, while its low-cost tariff plans have kicked off a price war among rival players.