- Bouygues Telecom : 3rd MNO in France
- Free Telecom the "David" of the french ISPs with its 18% market share opposed to Wanadoo "Goliath".
There has been a lot of buzz around Bouygues and Free since Q3 2005,
probably due to people interested in the rise of the stocks values !
These rumors were based on a logical economical analysis, so that everybody, including employees, could believe something was likely to happen.
Christian's credo about Bouygues is : moving is a matter of emergency.
- the ISP value proposition is stronger than those of pure mobile player in the long term because ISPs can become MVNO whereas a pure mobile cannot bill the end-user for broadband internet @ home. This statement should be challenged, IMHO.
- the cannibalization of cash cow revenues (voice), due to the emergence of ISPs' 4x play + Skype on mass market phones
Therefore, there are 3 possible scenarios for the future :
- preparing for selling the company to an "incumbent" (historical operator) (Telecom Italia, DT,...)
- considering a "Data Pipe mobile" wholesale business, thanks to their infrastructure and frenquencies.
- integration with the TF1 TV network (a subsidiry of the Bouygues group), Vivendi like.
On the other side, Free is in the nirvana, and doesn't need the hand of an MNO.
Besides, Bouygues and Free 's history, owner's personalities, management culture are so opposed at that a merge is like something of science-fiction.
However, as the content war could soon come to the shores of Europe with MS, Google and Yahoo "in the living room strategy", Christian thinks Free could take advantage in considering a long term Data Pipe (just as option 2 for Bouygues) OR joining an infrastructure+content alliance (the TF1 intergrated offer for instance).
2006 will be hot, he concludes.