Free, a subsidiary of French telco Iliad, has claimed record ultra-fast network rollouts in 2016, with 4.4 million FTTH connections and 310,000 subscribers at the end of 2016.
Free aims to achieve a 25 per cent share of the broadband and ultra-fast broadband market, and to increase its FTTH subscriber base by 200,000+ in 2017, then by 300,000 to 500,000 subscribers in subsequent years over the medium term. With investments of between €1.4 and €1.5 billion per year, Iliad aims to reach 9 million FTTH connections by end-2018 and 20 million by end-2022.
“Free becomes the leading alternative broadband and ultra-Fast Broadband operator ahead of SFR and remains the leading recruiter of mobile subscribers for the 20th quarter in a row,” the group commented in its 2016 results.
Five years after it entered the mobile market in France, Iliad has more than 19 million subscribers, of which nearly 13 million are mobile subscribers and more than 6 million are broadband and ultra-Fast broadband subscribers (up 32 per cent).
Iliad plans to achieve a 4G coverage rate of around 85 per cent of the French population by end-2017.
The operator also looks forward positioning itself as the fourth mobile network operator in Italy after signing an agreement with the Hutchison and VimpelCom groups, as part of the plan to merge their respective H3G and Wind subsidiaries.