TELECOMS: The mobile phones operator had maintained the suspense before the announcement …
So here, this new offering “which has not pleased competitors” in the words of Xavier Niel. Free announced Tuesday morning improving his mobile phones service abroad: roaming, that is to say, the possibility of using another operator abroad, will now be included in its packages, free and in unlimited, in 35 countries for calls and SMS.
— Free Mobile (@freemobile) March 14, 2017
The area covered by this new offer is vast: it concerns Europe and the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Regarding the connection to the mobile Internet, Free offer 5GB per month internationally. The offer will apply automatically without additional cost to the holders of packages 15.99 euros or 19.99 euros.
“Good marketing coup”
According to Antoine Autier, deputy head of the research department at UFC Que Choisir , this announcement is part of the strategy adopted by regularly Free, “which is to increase the content of its offer without raising prices.” For the specialist, “this offer anticipates the reform of roaming June 15 in Europe.”
To date, roaming charges will indeed normally deleted. ARCEP, the regulatory authority of telecommunications says that operators can not charge additional fees within the limits of “reasonable use”. “While competitors have surely planned to adapt, Free was faster than them. It is a marketing good shot, “observes Anthony Geron, telecom expert at Polyconseil.
A package for expatriates?
Who is this extension of Free abroad for? In its statement, the company cites frontier workers, but for Anthony Geron, the offer may also be interested expatriates. “To the extent that you take a subscription with a French address, for example in the domiciling in a close, you could then use the Free package while living abroad,” he observes.
In theory, this would therefore enable the operator to expand its market in countries where it does not necessarily have a license. With a size limit “if you live in London and a British friend calls you, he can pay extra because your number will be considered French” recalls the specialist. In addition, Free anticipated movement: the offer will be “reserved for resident or proof of stable ties subscribers involving frequent and significant presence in France,” says the operator .
Something else to consider: access to mobile internet abroad will be via 3G and not the faster 4G. “This can help target people who do not necessarily have deep pockets and want to optimize their bills,” concludes Antoine Géron.