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Innovation and Disruption Not Welcome In France

I have been following the company known as Iliiad the owners of the Free brand in France since I sat a few tables away from their founder at the now shuttered Atelier Berger (it has since reopened under new owners and new name A La Margauritte and is quite good as well.

Free disrupted telecom first with uber-fast Internet, free TV access and really cheap international calling via a single box that connected over the fiber to the home or ADSL networks. Earlier this year, they came out with their mobile offer, slashing costs and giving the French consumers a real choice and cost savings.

Now, in socialist fashion, the regulators are looking at how Free is going to cause jobs to be lost within the old line mobile operators (Orange, which is state owned, SFR which is owned by Vivendi and operated by Vodafone) and third ranked Bouygues Telecom. What they are challenging is the smart deals negotiated under the prior pro-capitalist regime that has been displaced by the new, more socialist regime.

It's pure silliness, and an example of Anti-Greed, which was the premise of Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. Instead of supporting innovation and disruption of the old-guard, the socialist regime, is looking to keep the rich in power, rich. While preventing the next generation from achieving success. Boy does that sound familier.


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@Anyoine Bingo. Unlike USAeans ISPs, Free faces real competition. I am pretty use they are messing about with their peering with Google/Youtube,

When proven, I will change my home Internet service from Free to Orange, SFR, Bougee, Darty, cleaning lady's son, etc. etc. etc.

I have a real choice. Unlike the so called open market capitalist Americans. Crony capitalism is not a good thing.


Right now, the main issue Free faces is related to the anemic capacity of their peering links with Google or Youtube, which is a trigger for peope moving from Free to other ISPs or mobile operators to iprove their experience with those services. Look at the reactions on Twitter for instance, with the #freeyoutube hashtag.


I think you have missed a few points. The regulatory is not worried to protect its partly state-owned France Télécom, but wants to be sure that the mostly public-owned (and on the stock market) France Télécom and Free are not colluding to make the mobile market a duopoly.

It has nothing to do with Anti-Greed or killing innovation.

The French regulators are very serious about ensuring competition. Have a look at the Internet Broadband market and compare France and USA. In France there are many ISPs because the regulator did unbunded the local loop so any ISP can use it. In the USA, the FCC setup an effective duopoly of ISP. Triple play in France costs €35 and around $100 in the USA.

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