Xavi is riding to the rescue after Free lost 19,000 broadband subscribers in Q1, an almost inconceivable result after 16 years of success. He's bringing back some of the original team, including legendary engineer Rani Assaf. They have work to do: opening Italy & Ireland, transitioning from 4G to ?, and dealing with invigorated competitors. Even Bouygues seems to be coming back.
Orange/France Telecom now has a better network and is promoting aggressively. FT offers fiber to 9.6M homes, Free only to 6.8M. FT has 97% 4G coverage, Free only 88%. The stock price has seriously fallen while Xavi invested in 400 startups, built the school 42, and created Station F, the world's largest startup incubator.
One of the first things Niel intends to do is to rev up the fiber build. He expects to add 2M servable homes by the end of this year and enable 20M - 80% of the country - by 2022. The business strategy will be to sell hard in the fiber areas, looking to add 500,000 or more each year.