Free, the fourth mobile operator in France (and a subsidiary of Iliad-Free), has launched an even cheaper mobile phone plan: 2 EUR per month, no contract. It includes unlimited texts, 2 hours of voice calls (to mobile and fixed lines in France, the US and Canada), and access to Free’s Wi-Fi hotspots. If you exceed the 2 hours, they bill you at 5 eurocents per minute. The catch is you cannot use the service outside of France.
Free shook up the mobile phone market in January 2012 by offering a 15 EUR per month contract-free unlimited voice, SMS and data plan. It forced the other operators – Orange, Bouygues and SFR – to respond with low price offers. The other operators, notably Orange (a subsidiary of France Telecom, the incumbent) complained about unfair competition.
Orange was forced to respond by introducing special deals for people who are already subscribers to mobile phone service, for example, offering 100 EUR rebates if they sign up for DSL or fiber service from Orange. The Free mobile offerings have caused Orange and the other operators to lose thousands of customers.