The new Freebox, unveiled Tuesday, December 4 by the operator Free, is “the first box in the world that gives access to ten gigabits” per second, welcomed on franceinfo Xavier Niel. “We are in our DNA, we create something that we want to have at home”with “modern technologies”said the co-founder of Free. Eight years after the previous version, the operator, which has lost more than 60,000 customers since the beginning of the year, hopes to revive with his “Delta Freebox”which includes the Alexa voice assistant, a Netflix subscription, and speakers made by Devialet.
franceinfo: what are the main novelties?
Xavier Niel: it is the first box in the world that provides access, at this scale, to ten gigabits per second. That is to say that we have a speed, when we have the optical fiber, colossal. And when we do not have fiber optics, in this new Freebox, we mix both DSL and 4G which can explode the flow of the DSL, if you have 4G walking next to home . We worked with Devialet to create a sound never seen. When we tried it, we do not recover. It's really something different.
This new Freebox is designed entirely by Free's engineers?
This is our specificity. We are the only operator in the world to design all the hardware, that is to say what we can touch, and software, that is to say, what we can not touch but who makes this equipment work. That's why we managed to invent the box concept a long time ago, that's why we were able to create revolutionary Freeboxes in our history. Sixteen years after the first Freebox, eight years after the last revolutionary Freebox, we are trying to recreate something that integrates what we really need today. The first Freebox was the phone and the TV, and the world has changed a bit. There is not much use of the landline phone at home, we do not look at television any more as before. We create a Freebox that integrates modern technologies.
But the cost of this Freebox is high?
We changed our model. Until now, when you paid a subscription to a box, you were not the owner. There, from the first day, you become the owner of three things in this Freebox: the hard drive of a To, a security pack and the player, which allows to play the Devialet sound and make Netflix work in very good quality . We have a subscription of 49.90 euros per month which includes Netflix and the other services, and next we have a cost of 10 euros per month to become owner of the Devialet player. It's a box without commitment, we can stay a month subscriber, and then we keep his equipment. We have plenty of offers and lots of different freeboxes for everyone to find what they need.
A box that does everything, is not it paradoxical, at the time of the cloud, where everything is dematerialized?
We can put things in this box that we can not find in the cloud. The Devialet sound, we can not bring it from the cloud. That's why the Freebox is bulky. The 10 gigabit connection, the mix of DSL and 4G, that in the cloud we can not do it.
Will it reassure your shareholders, while Free has lost subscribers this year?
The shareholders are the people who run this business. We do not have stress. If we compare ourselves to the rest of the market, we have a competitor who has the same number of subscribers as we, who has fifteen times more debt, who has no growth, who has lost 10% of his turnover. last quarter. We continue to have growth. We have moderate stress. If at some point you lose a few subscribers, it can create a little noise or a little movement. This is not our subject. Free was created 20 years ago by a group of friends. The basic idea was to say: create a product that you want to use. We did not have a financial purpose. We are in our DNA, we create something that we want to have at home. All the better if it pleases other people. If it does not please other people, it's like that and it's life. We have so many offers, that at the end we always find at Free, normally, the box we need.