French operator Free has announced that it will add 4G LTE services to its mobile offering at no extra charge as Orange revealed that it will stick to its price hike plans.
Free’s parent company Iliad said that its monthly mobile package will remain unchanged at €19.99 a month, which includes 20GB of data.
It claimed that this is five times cheaper than that proposed elsewhere on the market.
Bouygues's comparable and cheapest 4G plan costs €29.99 a month while SFR charges €42.99 a month, both for 3GB of data. Meanwhile, Orange charges €30.99 a month for 2GB.
Orange France business head, Delphine Ernotte, told Reuters that the operator was not “afraid of the [Free] announcement” that is backed with no network.
“Coverage and quality are fundamental. We will revamp our tariffs in February as planned, and the prices on 4G will increase,” she said.
However, Free said its network now has more than 700 4G sites covering over 1,000 towns and cities.
“This coverage is set to rapidly increase with several hundred new 4G sites coming on stream in the next few weeks,” it said in a statement.
Free is one of the only two French operators to have 20MHz dedicated to 4G services in the 2.6 GHz band, but it does not have any in the 800MHz band.
Nevertheless, Free’s latest move will increase the pressure on the three more established players.
Orange’s revenues fell 4.9 percent in France during the third quarter, while SFR and Bouygues Telecom saw declines of 8.7 percent and 9.3 percent respectively.
Illiad, saw sales increase by 15 percent, meanwhile.