Free holds back on box as subscriber losses continue

French service provider Iliad Telecom/Free has held back on unveiling its much-hyped new TV and internet box as the company reported significant subscriber losses and reduced fixed and mobile revenues in its core French market.

Iliad Telecom CEO Thomas Reynaud told Reuters that the new box would be “at the foot of the Christmas tree” but declined to comment on earlier reports that the operator had planned to unveil the new device – seen as key to revitalising its sales in France – on November 20.

Iliad had 6.459 million fixed customers in France at the end of September, down from 6.495 million a year earlier. However the company increased the number of subscribers to its FTTH network from 483,000 to 835,000. Iliad said it had reduced the number of fixed-line losses in the third quarter to 14,000.

Iliad lost 90,000 mobile customers in France, with losses concentrated in its low-cost tier. The company said it had experienced a negative impact from the introduction of low-cost offerings by rivals. Mobile losses in France were however offset by the company’s success in attracting customers in Italy, where its recently launched mobile offering had attracted 2.23 million customers by the end of September.

Iliad posted revenues of €3.64 million for the nine months to September, up 0.7%, with mobile revenues offsetting a 2.7% decline in fixed revenues.

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