Monday, February 11, 2008

Free adds another 100K IPTV Subscribers

Free, the competitive carrier in France, added 137 thousand broadband suscribers in 4Q07 giving it a total of 2.904 million ADSL lines, 2.366 million of which are unbundled. The company expects to increase its unbundled lines from 81.5 percent of total broadband subscribers to 85 percent. It also has set an objective of having 4 million broadband subscribers by the end of 2010.

Free's ARPU reached a high of €36.3 in the 4Q07, an increase of 1 euro compared to the 3Q07 and 1.8 euros more than 4Q06. This increase is explained by the greater number of
unbundled subscribers, the use of premium services, such as Free Home Video (S-VOD).

During 2007 Free made the following enhancements to its IPTV service:
  • 12new channels added
  • TV services provided to PCs on all of its broadband lines
  • SVOD service providing access to movies and TV series
  • User contributed video service that can be viewed on the TV
My current estimate is that Free has 2.1 million subscribers capable of receiving TV services. The company has been increasing the number of unbundled subscribers that can receive its TV service. Its actual total of the number of subscribers capable of receiving TV service may actually be much closer to its 2.366 million unbundled subscribers. I will check with them and post any corrections they give me.

I always talk about "subscribers capable of receiving TV services" with Free. Its Freebox set-top box that is used by all of its subscribers comes with a TV decoder and a SCART connector. Consequently, Free provides 100 percent of its subscribers with the ability to connect to a TV. The question is what percentage of its TV capable subscribers actually watch the service. Free has not made any statements about this recently.

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