Xavier Niel, CEO of Iliad, parent company of France’s low-cost, innovative telecom company Free, announced today the imminent arrival of the latest over-the-top triple play box, the Free Mini 4K. The announcement, which came amongst much speculation, after Niel released cryptic invitations with an encoded message ‘Surprise,’ will see Free bring the first Android-powered Triple Play solution (TV, Phone, Internet) to consumers in France. In addition, the product will also be 4K compatible, anticipating the imminent release of 4K solutions to users. The price for the latest box, which is 5 times smaller than their most recent box, will be 29,99€/month with no contract.
Niel knows how to throw a party, control an audience, and, even, make competitors tremble. After the invitations came yesterday to today’s press announcement, all three Telecom competitors (Numericable-SFR, Orange, Bouygues) saw stock prices lose a couple of percentage points, as investors waited to see what the damage would be. In fairness, Iliad, too, saw its stock drop as well – it seems investors hadn’t quite made up their mind.
One of the biggest parts of this announcement is that Xavier Niel seems to be putting to bed his feud with Google. Previous years saw Niel fighting with Google over YouTube’s data consumption on his network, hoping to get a similar deal to what US Telecom companies are getting – under this deal, is Niel burying the hatchet with Google? It certainly seems so.