'Price war' expected as Bouygues responds to Free Mobile 4G launch with free LTE

9 Dec 2013

French telco Bouygues Telecom has made its first move as part of the anticipated price war between mobile operators in the French market, announcing that it will provide subscribers with access to its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network at no extra cost. According to a company press release dated 9 December 2013, Bouygues Telecom will make ‘the largest 4G network in France (with 63% population coverage) more accessible and thus encourage the service usage.’ Further, the cellco has stated that the forthcoming increase in VAT, scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2014, will not be passed on to its customers via increased prices.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in December 2013 Iliad (Free) announced the commercial deployment of its LTE network using the 2.6GHz frequency band. The company also revealed that subscribers to its Free Mobile Plan, currently priced at EUR19.99 (USD27.10) per month, 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.