|France's Free Buys Alice|
Free Iliad, currently third in a three-horse race to dominate France's FTTH market, may leapfrog its competition with the announced acquisition of 'Alice'.
Who the heck is Alice? Alice is a Telecom Italia's French Internet unit with its own ADSL infrastructure, and lots of customers, in Free's core market. Alice has around 5% of the French high speed broadband market, with 100,000 IPTV customers amongst them.
Currently, the French market is divided between Orange, Neuf Cegetel and Free. Numéricable, the cable operator, has an FTTN strategy in place to boost its own offerings. All of the players offer an aggressive bundle of 50 - 100 mbps broadband, 100 or so for IPTV channels (including some HD) and free telephony.
The acquisition, if successful, is expected to push Free into the number three position behind Orange.
*These comments do not necessarily reflect the views of the FTTH Council Europe.