Free Mobile (Iliad)

Old Jun 13, 12, 11:42 pm
  #1  
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Free Mobile (Iliad)

[I'm leaving this here instead of the Travel and Technology Forum hoping for a better chance of a response.]

I read an interesting article from Reuters France's Iliad aims for faster mobile profit. From the article:

The company signed up 2.6 million customers to its 'Free Mobile" offers in the first quarter to take 3.7 percent of the market, a pace unprecedented among new mobile entrants in European markets.

It sells only two offers - unlimited at 19.99 euros a month and a 2 euros package of one hour of calls and 60 texts - and has a more limited range of mobiles than its competitors.

Free Mobile also established a different business model, soon copied by its competitors: its customers pay for their own mobiles and can leave whenever they want, forgoing the traditional generous mobile subsidies that operators give on smartphones with contracts for one or two years.
This looked interesting so after some Googling, I found the Free website at http://mobile.free.fr/index.html which inspired some questions:

1. Does anyone here on FT use this company or know anyone who does?

2. Where can you buy one of their SIM cards?

3. In looking at their Tariffs, specifically on page 4, it appears to indicate that if you are paying by any method other than automatic electronic payment from a French bank account (the usual RIB scheme), they want a whopping 200 € deposit. Did I read this correctly? Are they enforcing this? Would they allow an exception for a credit card?

4. If Free allows you to leave whenever you want, can you simply pay up front for a month of service?

5. Not that this is a deal breaker (there seems to be one already ) but on one of their FAQ pages, the question is posed, "I have an iPhone 4(s). Am I going to receive a SIM card in the adapted format [the micro-SIM]?" The response given is: "Yes, the SIM card sent permits at the same time a standard use and a micro-SIM use (iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s)." Is this some new kind of SIM card I haven't yet heard about? Are they sending two SIM cards?

The question of cell phone and smartphone use for travellers comes up frequently on FT, so I am hoping for a response here for those concerned. Moi, je suis déja client chez Orange.
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Old Jun 14, 12, 1:54 am
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iff
 
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1. Does anyone here on FT use this company or know anyone who does?
I've been a client for their Internet service and signed up for the mobile offer when it came out. I ended up canceling it right away because I couldn't connect to their network from my apartment. Free's mobile antenna network is currently quite limited so they piggyback on the Orange network (and I can't get an Orange signal chez moi either). Some Free users complain that they get only EDGE access rather than 3G, and there were a couple of brief major service outages earlier this year. Growing pains, no doubt.

2. Where can you buy one of their SIM cards?
Most people order online through their site and receive the cards in the mail. The Free boutique stores are currently open in Rouen, Laval, Troyes, Angers, Dunkerque and Le Havre.

if you are paying by any method other than automatic electronic payment from a French bank account (the usual RIB scheme), they want a whopping 200 € deposit.
Their Terms and conditions state that they have the right to request this. Personally I doubt they would make exceptions, but one could always try.

4. If Free allows you to leave whenever you want, can you simply pay up front for a month of service?
Leaving whenever you want simply means that the contract is not for a predefined period of time. This is not a pay-as-you-go service. If you want to cancel, you need to send them a request via registered mail with delivery receipt and allow 10 days for processing.

"Yes, the SIM card sent permits at the same time a standard use and a micro-SIM use (iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s)." Is this some new kind of SIM card I haven't yet heard about? Are they sending two SIM cards?
They send only one SIM card that is perforated, so if you need a micro-SIM you break it out of the perforations. Once you've detached it from the surrounding plastic, you can no longer use it as a standard SIM.
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Old Jun 15, 12, 9:01 am
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Thanks iff!

It seems like this is not a service for the occasional traveler.

Have you heard anything about Sosh from Orange? I was sent a link by someone I know but it's not clear to me if this has gone into effect.

It might be a replacement for Mobicarte as a no contract plan.
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Old Jun 15, 12, 11:54 pm
  #4  
iff
 
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Sosh is Orange's "low-cost" line, in the same category as Bouygues' B&You and SFR's Red. They are similar to the Free model: not pay-as-you-go services but with a contract of undefined duration. I believe they are all internet-based and thus not suitable for anyone who needs in-person customer service.
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Old Jun 16, 12, 7:25 pm
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Originally Posted by iff View Post
Sosh is Orange's "low-cost" line, in the same category as Bouygues' B&You and SFR's Red. They are similar to the Free model: not pay-as-you-go services but with a contract of undefined duration. I believe they are all internet-based and thus not suitable for anyone who needs in-person customer service.
The website is extremely confusing. I just tried to go through the screens for purchasing a SIM card and a data plan and could not get past the initial screen since "Orange is momentarily indisposed; try later." As we know, this could also mean that I will never get through from my USA IP address. (Years ago when I was a Mobicarte customer, I was never once able to faire un recharge by telephone with an American credit card and always got the "service unavailable, try later" message.)

Internet-based I perhaps could live with as a traveler especially if my hardware is supported by Apple. But at the moment, I can't even figure out how they expect to get paid.

Just to be sure I understand you, are you saying you can't find Sosh in any stores like FNAC?
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Old Jun 17, 12, 12:46 am
  #6  
iff
 
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From their site:
SOSH, ça se passe sur Internet, pas dans les magasins.
You won't find it in stores--part of the reason it's low-cost is that they've cut out the middleman.

According to their conditions, clients must live in metropolitan France.
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