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And while it might not have the Apple brand, you could see who had inspired the Free’s set-top box: It was even able to playback music from my i Phone using Air Play.
“Since it is our own set-top box, we can innovate around it,” he says. S., they buy their set-top boxes from other providers.” That’s a mistake and lost opportunity, Niel says and proceeds to outline how pivotal these set-top boxes are for his company and its future.
That gives Free.fr’s three million subscribers a connection speed of roughly 28 megabits per second over DSL, free IPTV (and a free set-top box), a free Wi-Fi hub, and unlimited voice calls to some 70 countries.
“We are a broadband service provider,” was his matter-of-fact reply.
A simple, low monthly rate was possible because of the network he owned and the technologies he used.
Here is what I wrote then: By offering a flat-rate, high-speed Internet connection for 30 euros () a month.
The company also signed a roaming agreement with Orange to cover most of the service. There are few details available, and Niel is keeping his cards close to the chest. 2011, once again, I ducked out of Le Web and visited Niel in his offices in the 8th Arrondissement, a chic business district.
is under pressure from the quad-play offerings — broadband, mobile, Vo IP and video — from three of its major rivals: France Telecom, (s fte) Vivendi’s SFR and Bouygues Telecom.
This time, he got an equally desperate Nokia Siemens Networks (s nok)(s si) on the hook. “It will be cheaper than the current market price,” he adds. The answer comes in a throwaway comment he made when we were sitting around talking.
“In your pocket you have three things: your keys, your phone and your wallet,” he says.
Utilizing a blend of Wi-Fi, HSPA 3G, femtocells and its all-fiber backbone, Free will offer unlimited voice, texting and data over the mobile networks; just bring your own i Phone(s aapl).
But before I get into the details of his new company, let me back up and tell you about Iliad and 2007, while attending Le Web in Paris, I snuck out to visit Niel, the man behind Iliad, a Paris-based phone service that owned many entities including its most well-known offering: Free.fr, a broadband service that offered phone (Vo IP), video (IPTV) and broadband for a simple flat monthly fee.
For example, used the set-top box for automatically sharing a portion of one’s broadband connection via Wi-Fi with other customers.