Saturday , January 23 2021

Free & # 39; s strategy worries investors and users

Despite the release of Freebox Delta, Iliad's course, the Free Company parent, continues to fall on the stock market.

The barometer does not look good for free. At the end of a difficult year 2018, when the operator lost ground in the face of competition, both fixed and mobile, the operator expected much of his new high-end box to correct his image and to conquer the market. Alas, Despite Freebox Delta's undeniable technical qualities, it seems that success is not right for rendezvous, worrying both investors and users.

As we have already reported, the launch of the new box did not go smoothly. Delta Freebox arrived not only late – it was only launched on December 4 after long waiting – but it also created confusion and disappointment customers.

First, because the offer proved difficult to decipher between the mandatory purchase of the Player module and the various options introduced from the start. A complexity that only increased with the detention of Free, which had "released" some services from the original package – such as The security package suggested since the option – cancel some costs considered illegal and even compose in urgency, a facilitated offer, with a server without a media player. What to lose newbies and new subscribers so hoped for. but even geeks most loyal to Free since the beginning did not hide their anger on social networks facing this new offer "all inclusive", with features and services they do not need, and especially with rising prices, with fees that are difficult to justify as UFC-Que Choirir pointed out.

Secondly, because the customers tempted by the Delta Freebox, not everyone had what they expected. Between delivery delays for old subscribers, earned after the new ones, and the various bugs of the box (whistling the player box, 4G / ADSL aggregation not functional, blocking the remote control, etc.), Delta Freebox has not kept all its promises. The Last Concern: The Ultra High Speed ​​Fiber Connection (10 Gb / s) made by Free is not available anywhere, unlike ads … Surely, like many innovative products, the new generation Freebox is experiencing youth issues. The problem is that she collects them.

It is difficult at present to accurately measure Delta Freebox's commercial success, the operator does not report any number on this topic. But to believe in the competition, it seems that there was no massive movement for free beyond the first days after the announcement. The same goes for the mobile sector, where, despite the promises of Xavier Niel, the founder of Free, No revolutionary offer has appeared in recent weeks. Even worse, the operator has undergone a temporary formula to make it a weird preference package for a year. Not to scare the competition, especially SFR and Bouygues Telecom, which offer cheaper deals guaranteed for life through Red and B & You.

It will probably be necessary to wait for the publication of the annual results of Iliad, the parent company of Free, in March, because if these new offers have traveled the line. What is certain is that Investors do not seem to adhere to the group's new strategy. documented Iliad's share price, as after a slight improvement at the end of Freebox Delta, continues to dive to its lowest level since 2012. Today it is around 91 euros against nearly 131 euros in mid-December 2018, far from the peaks to 247 euros observed on several occasions between 2012 and 2017 … Clearly, The market is worried and seems to have lost confidence in Free. What risks ask the operator some problems in a few months when it becomes necessary to participate in the auction of frequencies 5G which requires very large investments. In short, the sky is pretty dark in the open at the moment in the spirit of the graphics code used for the communication and advertising of Freebox Delta …

Illustration: © Free

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