back to article Google could be a great partner for Iliad in its quest for T-Mobile

French operator Iliad may have had its $15bn bid for T-Mobile USA rejected and branded “preposterous”, but it is unlikely to give up too easily in its attempt to bring its disruptive practices – which have already created commercial havoc in France – to the US. In recent weeks, the rumour mill has suggested Iliad might enlist …

  1. Fihart

    Sounds familiar.

    Who remembers the Rabbit phone (from, I think, Hutchison Telecom) ? A glorified cordless phone with base stations at bus stops, high street shops, as well as at home.

    Never caught on as cellular mobile became omnipresent (at least in urban areas).

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    What a load of crap

    its potential to support Wi-Fi-first and Wi-Fi-only models that reduce the importance of cellular networks and spectrum

    The reason for spectrum is because you need to be able to manage it in order to provide any kind of reliable service. While you can use WiFi in isolated areas, it's impossible to do so anywhere with reasonable population density as you need to do in order provide QoS on phone calls. This is why companies still pay as much as they do for spectrum. Iliad may indeed make extensive use of WiFi but the main key to its success has been the rigorous unbundling of connections in France, something that isn't on the cards for the US.

    And how you do manage the WiFi networks? Cellular networks are as much about managing users as they are about spectrum. Obviously not a problem for Faultline which has already mapped out how this can be done…

    It's certainly possible that Google might, very much like Softbank in the past, get into the network business. Not sure if it would bother with a single national carrier, though. Buying the mobile part of Deutsche Telekom might be more interesting. It could certainly afford to do so. There might be regulation national security concerns but the biggest issue would probably having to do deal with lots of employees.

  3. ciaran

    Free mobile doesn't use WiFi

    I live in france. I use Free for both my home ADSL and for my mobile phone. Its true that Free offers a FemtoCell for the ADSL line which boosts the mobile phone reception inside the house. However the idea that the pre-existing ADSL deployment was a major part of the Free Mobile deployment is completely wrong. Free stared in the ADSL business by giving a highly automated service that was better and cheaper than the existing operators. They had a one-price-fits-all strategy, but they gave little or no assistance if you had a problem. When they became a mobile operator they promised that they would halve average prices, and registered a competitor's price list to prove it.

    1. 080

      Re: Free mobile doesn't use WiFi

      I am a Free customer in France and have never connected via WiFi, calls and data are carried either on the Free or Orange network depending on coverage.

      At €2 a month for 2 hours of included calls either within France to fixed or mobile or to UK, USA and 100 other countries fixed line, unlimited SMS, 20mb data, now that's what I call disruptive.

      1. captain veg

        Re: Free mobile doesn't use WiFi

        Same here. Freemobile voice calls go over GSM/3G, no exceptions. I can make SIP calls over WiFi, but that is associated with my landline number -- also provided by Free -- not the mobile.

        As it goes, I would absolutely love to be able to route my mobile calls over internet since most of my home is a mobile dead spot, but I can't without upgrading my terminal equipment and fitting the optional femtocell, at my expense. It still wouldn't be over WiFi, though.


  4. Charles 9 Silver badge

    FTR, Cox already has something of a mobile rollout. IIRC, they're a MVNO on the Sprint network, so buying into T-Mobile (which is GSM and not compatible with Sprint) would create a shakeup on that end. That may be why Cox is denying interest in Iliad at this time: there would be additional up-front costs for them.

  5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    I have one of those WiFi friendly T-Mobile phones. WiFi is perfect for inside buildings. My phone works in every room of large office buildings and in even the most remotely located hotels. It's rarely useful outdoors. Most people leave their phone's WiFi radio turned on and it's not uncommon for enough phones to be near an outdoor WiFi AP for it to saturate. In countries that rely heavily on offloading 3G to WiFi, WiFi is pretty much guaranteed to not be working reliably.

    If Iliad + Google + T-Mo were to use WiFi, it would make the most sense for them to target hotels, businesses, and courtyards rather than outdoors in general. Not trying to blast microwaves deep into buildings would probably reduce cell tower costs quite a bit.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: WiFi

      Also, T-Mobile phones in the USA can take advantage of a WiFi Calling feature that doesn't require a femtocell or other special equipment to use: just a phone with their firmware. It "just works" and is one reason I stick with them.

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