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French Provider Free Could Buy US Branch of T-Mobile 111

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the everyone-wants-a-piece dept.
Guybrush_T (980074) writes Iliad, the parent company of Free, confirmed today having made an offer to buy 56% of the U.S. branch of T-Mobile. This could be very good news for the U.S., since the provider reduced significantly the average price of mobile plans in France since they entered the mobile market two years ago. Their disruptive strategy, featuring an all-inclusive €20/month plan and a €2/month plan gathered 11% of the French market in only two years and lowered the price of plans by a factor of 5 to 10.
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French Provider Free Could Buy US Branch of T-Mobile

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  • by gwstuff (2067112) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @08:29PM (#47578563)

    Do you mean the US shareholders of T-Mobile? The CEOs? The Execs?

    You couldn't possibly mean good for the US consumer... or did you? It's a bit awkward this. You must excuse me, you see we in the US have never really had any experience with that sort of thing - a company doing something that's good for the consumer... wow, I wonder how that feels like. Is that like when a Comcast sales rep signs you up for a promotion that actually costs you money in the long run, but gives you a refund when you spend hours on the phone, in effect being all nice and not ripping you off?

    • Consumers (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, it's consumers. Because it's a French company, if you have to dispute an over charge, they just surrender and back it off.

      • Yes, it's consumers. Because it's a French company, if you have to dispute an over charge, they just surrender and back it off.

        The French surrender? I thought this old meme stopped being funny when it turned out it was NOT a good idea to invade Irak and the French turned out to be right to not go in all along...

        Anyway, I'll tell you who this is BAD news for: whoever is competing with T-Mobile in the US. I'm myself in France and from what I gather, the "competitive market" of mobile operators in the US is in pretty bad shape. Pretty ironic when you think about it, in the land of the Free Market.

        Dinosaurs, get ready for some major di

        • The French surrender? I thought this old meme stopped being funny when it turned out it was NOT a good idea to invade Irak and the French turned out to be right to not go in all along

          Not debating whether the meme is old or not but how does not fighting kill the French always surrender joke?

          • The French surrender? I thought this old meme stopped being funny when it turned out it was NOT a good idea to invade Irak and the French turned out to be right to not go in all along

            Not debating whether the meme is old or not but how does not fighting kill the French always surrender joke?

            I'm just saying, the US is engaged in many conflicts, not all of which are very well justified, so you sound a bit like a warmongering cowboy when you say that. See why it's not funny now?

          • I thought the French saved the 'Merkins' collective ass during that little skirmish with the Brits.
        • by jbolden (176878)

          I gather, the "competitive market" of mobile operators in the US is in pretty bad shape

          You are gathering from people who mostly don't know what they are talking about. The USA has a geography and lower population density, and road system vs. public transit system which makes it vastly more expensive to provide service. Moreover they get much less government support in terms of funding. As a consequence USA carriers are far more sophisticated than their European counterparts. The idea that the USA is a

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      You must excuse me, you see we in the US have never really had any experience with that sort of thing - a company doing something that's good for the consumer... wow, I wonder how that feels like.

      I'm a T-Mobile US customer, and considering they recently dropped "overages", I know what it feels like. Yeah, it's rare.

      If Free buys T-Mobile and implements a 20Eu service, my bill will drop by something less than $10. Less, because I assume the 20Eu service will still have federal taxes/fees.

      • Less, because I assume the 20Eu service will still have federal taxes/fees.

        Don't forget state fees. Most states still have the mindset that having a mobile phone is a rich man's luxury, so they tax the shit out of it.

        Go to a state like Washington and you pay 24% in taxes. Go just a little south to Oregon and it's 7%.

        http://www.mywireless.org/stat... [mywireless.org]

        • by Meeni (1815694) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @10:15PM (#47578941)

          20 euros is inclusive of taxes. France taxes are not super heavy, but still on the upper side, and I'd bet US taxes are lower overall.

          When I lived in France I had Free. Excellent service, very disruptive market strategy. I'm very excited with the news. I'd switch in an eyelash.

          • 20 euros is inclusive of taxes. France taxes are not super heavy, but still on the upper side, and I'd bet US taxes are lower overall.

            When I lived in France I had Free. Excellent service, very disruptive market strategy. I'm very excited with the news. I'd switch in an eyelash.

            Yes, 20% TVA is still considerably higher than US sales tax which doesn't exceed 10% anywhere.

            • by cdrudge (68377)

              US sales tax which doesn't exceed 10% anywhere.

              No individual location has a state tax exceeding 10%, but depending on what is being purchased and where it's being purchased, there may be an additional tax beyond just the general sales tax that applies, driving the price up. Local governments usually can add a percent or two to the state rate. Alcohol, tobacco also get a "sin tax" added, as does lodging, transportation rentals, and restaurants pushing them well above 10%.

              • US sales tax which doesn't exceed 10% anywhere.

                No individual location has a state tax exceeding 10%, but depending on what is being purchased and where it's being purchased, there may be an additional tax beyond just the general sales tax that applies, driving the price up. Local governments usually can add a percent or two to the state rate. Alcohol, tobacco also get a "sin tax" added, as does lodging, transportation rentals, and restaurants pushing them well above 10%.

                A percent or two okay - but the sin tax etc wouldn't apply to telecommunications anyway.

          • by GuB-42 (2483988)

            Free is not as good as before. Mostly because its competitors have adapted. They now offer similar prices and services via their low-cost labels.
            - Orange/SoSH is slightly more expensive but it has the best network and service
            - Bouygues/B&You use aggressive pricing and discounts. Beside 4G coverage, their service and network are rather poor. They are the most direct competitors of Free.
            - SFR/RED has a bit of a trouble keeping up with the competition as they don't offer same service as Orange nor the pric

            • by Meeni (1815694)

              Yes, but that's exactly what the broadband and GSM US market needs. This is an encroached bunch of crooks with sleezy marketing practices and a captive market. The prices are artificially high, there is little to no competition (except for recent Tmo moves in feb that have resulted in an across the board slash in prices at all operators). The fact that Free is not "so good anymore" because others have matched is exactly what is exciting. I am actually happy with ATT wireless, technically, but not about the

          • 20 euros is inclusive of taxes. France taxes are not super heavy, but still on the upper side, and I'd bet US taxes are lower overall.

            When I lived in France I had Free. Excellent service, very disruptive market strategy. I'm very excited with the news. I'd switch in an eyelash.

            I would also switch in a flash. When I was in Riga Latvia with my son, he explained that he paid 8 euros a month for TV and internet and a little more for Cellphones, but that there were charge for roaming outside of the country.
            I think $20/mo plus taxes is reasonable My VOIP is in that range and why not TV and CellPhone. My answer to my question is that the consumer must pay for the cellphone towers, and not the mobile phone companies. I bet that 80% of the Cellphone bill is for marketing, and paying to

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Un France (but not exclusively), the expectation and the law is that the advertised price is the price that you will pay, period. Even restaurants have service included in the price, tipping is no longer required, expected, nor is it in the habits of locals anymore.
          Consumers are well protected overall by legislation, anything aiming to deceive them is considered scandalous and fixed in the following law.
          It's not perfect, but it certainly makes day-to-day life easier.

          • by christophe (36267) on Friday August 01, 2014 @08:34AM (#47580509) Journal
            French Free customer here.

            The expectation is that the advertised price is the price that you will pay, right, and that's usually the case. But "advertised" means sometimes that the subscrition is N euros, and it is not clear (or in very small letters) that the compulsory routeur is M euros, and other options are X eurs, or that the price will double after 6 months, and so on. Our main provider (Orange, formerly France Telecom) and the others are very fond of this game. But Free does not, the 20 euros is really all included, no surprise.

            As for tipping, it still exists in France, on a smaller scale. I often let 1 euro on the table if I'm pleased by the service.
        • I was going to dispute the 24% figure in Washington where I live, but then I discovered I never told T-Mobile I left California a few years ago, so I'm only getting hit with about 16% taxes.
      • by paulatz (744216)
        FYI taxes are always included in the price in Europe. Free's 20€ are actually 19.99€ that get out of your pocket.
    • by klui (457783)

      Free is the French ISP whose business model influenced sonic.net in the US--no limits/caps, all features included for one price. If Free continues its disruptive model, I think that would be a good thing for consumers.

  • Rejected! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2014 @08:30PM (#47578567)

    According to TmoNews, this was rejected.

    http://www.tmonews.com/2014/07/french-telecoms-company-iliad-makes-bid-for-t-mobile-us/

    • Re:Rejected! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ArmoredDragon (3450605) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @09:55PM (#47578871)

      I bet I know why they rejected it: If they accept it, then they'll miss out on the $2 billion Sprint will have to pay them when Club Fed rejects the takeover.

      However after that takeover fails (you already know it will,) they pass go and collect $2 billion, and then they can consider Iliad's bid again.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        However after that takeover fails (you already know it will,)

        It had better fail. Corporate consolidation in the US has been a disaster.

      • by jeepies (3654153)
        If they pass go and collect $2 billion, Illiad's bid will have to go up $2 billion.
      • I hope you are correct. I have already had Sprint burn down one mobile phone Company around me, NexTel, and I don’t look forward to going through that again. This seems like a much better deal for consumers to me.

        Actually Sprint has screwed me twice with mobile phones. I had a Sprint Spectrum phone when they just pulled the plug on that network rending my phone useless. They got sued and the worthless class action made some lawyers rich and they gave those of us who lost the use of $300 phones $50 gi

        • by jbolden (176878)

          I think you keep phones a bit too long. The point of an acquisition is an integration. They haven't "burned down those networks" they use their bandwidth and towers as part of their integrated offerings. Take a look at diagrams of what their towers do.

  • If true, please buy something in Canada.
    • Free provides two simple low cost offers – a Euro 19.99 per month plan (including 3GB mobile data & unlimited calls & SMS) and a Euro 2 per month plan (including 50MB mobile data & 2 hours of calls a day & unlimited SMS).

      According to Google the current exchange rate means 2 Euros equals 2.93 Canadian Dollars.

      Two hours of call per day, unlimited SMS and 50MB of data per month for around 3$CAD? The other carriers will have a fucking stroke if a competitor ever offered that.

      Hell, even if

  • Perspective (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2014 @08:41PM (#47578623)

    As a French, I'm not sure that I like that idea, Free spending lots of money to buy marketshare in the US instead of enhancing their network in France.

    AOL tried to do the inverse a while ago. They bragged that they were leaders in 'America', about to obliterate French providers. It ended awfully for them.
    Free (and SFR, others) killed them.

    • Re:Perspective (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Salgat (1098063) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @08:47PM (#47578645)
      They are doing it to increase revenue/future profit. This is a long term strategy, don't be fooled into thinking they are doing this to be charitable. I think it's great because it means they will have more money to invest in infrastructure in the future.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Another reason is that the current stock market values growth over income.

        Make a company that is hemorrhaging cash, but is "expanding" into markets, and you can have a nice, fat IPO.

        Make a company that makes a king's ransom from an established market, and there is no chance of getting the market to even fart in your general direction.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Think of it as farming. You look after the truffle pig or milk cow and get years of productivity. The French understand this, like many other nations, you invest well and use the profits in other countries to build up real infrastructure back in France. Think of it as a farm or colony or investment. The extracted cash flows back one way :)
        With the correct use of ads, plans and that new boss feeling the consumers will herd themselves for free enjoying freedoms, good value and choice.
    • Yes, yes, yes. If they absolutely must expand then expand here in Europe. But they should be spending more money here in France though making sure they can actually serve more than... 25% of the territory, rather than taking on the world. They have changed France but their kind of disruption only ever works if you know how to massage the system, and I seriously doubt old Xavier will be able to do that outside France.

  • The sooner the better. It couldn't possibly get worse.

    ...unless I go back to AT&T, I guess...

    • by Richy_T (111409) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @09:31PM (#47578803) Homepage

      Good news... For anyone who lives in a city with coverage and never travels.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        T-Mobile is aware of their shortcomings: http://explore.t-mobile.com/test-drive-free-trial [t-mobile.com]

        T-Mobile has been making a huge push in Voice over LTE (VoLTE) on the 700 MHz band
        nd I imagine that as everyone switches over, it won't matter which carrier you have,
        since eventually you'll be able to roam on any network.

        • by schnell (163007) <me&schnell,net> on Friday August 01, 2014 @01:18AM (#47579443) Homepage

          it won't matter which carrier you have, since eventually you'll be able to roam on any network.

          Nope, sorry. For three reasons:

          1. 1.) VoLTE on one carrier is not necessarily compatible with VoLTE on another carrier. VoLTE is not plain VoIP - like Skype etc. - where it is a pure "over the top" Layer 7 application that any IP network should support. It is built at a much lower layer in the OSI stack, and each carrier's implementation will be optimized for their own network and may not be compatible with another carrier's.
          2. 2.) To roam on "any network" (at least in the US) requires your phone to be able to access all the different LTE bands licensed to different carriers. Most phones sold in the US don't because it costs extra money to support the frequency bands of multiple carriers which is pointless when 95% of customers will use the phone for its two-year lifetime on the carrier that they bought it from
          3. 3.) Also - to roam onto another network, by the way that GSM cellular technology works, your home carrier must have a roaming agreement with the "other" carrier. Generally speaking, the big US carriers have roaming agreements for international use and for remote rural use, but not in domestic areas where they have their own networks. The simple explanation is that if you lose your Verizon signal for a second and your phone tries to go roam onto T-Mobile, that costs VZ a lot of money.... whereas in that area it's more likely that you will get a VZ tower back within a few minutes and not cost them any roaming fees if you didn't attach to a roaming network. TL;DR - somebody will always pay more if you are using a network other than your "home" carrier, and that somebody will end up being you - at a rate that will make it economically unfeasible.

          Lastly, if you thought that VoLTE was going to mean that you could just use any given carrier at your convenience, I'm sorry but that's just not how cellular works. In the mobile (GSM and its successor technologies like LTE) world, you have a "home" carrier (who gave you your SIM and sends you your monthly bill) and you will always use your home carrier whenever possible because it's less expensive for them. To use another carrier - even if they have better coverage in a certain area, and your device has the other carrier's frequencies enabled - means that your home carrier will absorb roaming charges and they will pass those along to you. With a markup. So it makes no economic sense for you or your carrier to just let you use the network that has the strongest signal in any given area... or if they do, be prepared to pay out the frickin' wazoo for every time you surf the web on a carrier that isn't your home provider.

      • The west coast in general has good TMo coverage (all the cities including the little ones, every time I checked when driving the I-5 from Seattle to SF, and the local ski areas) but the only other place I've checked was in DC (where it was fine). However, I scarcely even consider that "travel". For *REAL* travel, TMo is by far the best carrier option. I spent a month in Europe earlier this year. Six countries, and I had service everywhere in every one of them including on the Swiss ski slopes. I sent/received well over a thousand texts and a number of MMS, streamed music all day (at 128Kbps, that adds up fast), did email and web browsing and so forth, and Skyped with friends and family. I also received several calls which I let go to voicemail, then checked the voicemails. All on my normal US T-Mobile SIM card.

        Extra cost for all that stuff while abroad? $0.00.

        It would have cost something to use voice calls over the cellular network, but with things like Skype or Google Voice (plus the free and unlimited - though not super-fast - data), that was never needed. T-Mo's "WiFi Calling" feature also lets you make or receive calls, while overseas, without any charge as long as you're on WiFi. I'm planning to visit Indonesia soon, and T-Mobile says I'll be covered there too. It's a *fantastic* carrier for people who travel.

  • Please NO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @08:47PM (#47578641)

    Please everyone just leave T-Mobile alone. They are doing great the last few years. I don't want them ruined by Sprint or Iliad or Dish or anyone else!

    Competition is good and T-Mobile is proof of it. Even if you don't use T-Mobile and never will, you have STILL BENEFITED from many of the things they have done lately which have been forcing other carriers to make changes.

    Just today:
    "T-Mobile posted its second quarter earnings today, and the carrier is continuing momentum as far as customer acquisition is concerned. The Uncarrier managed to add an additional 1.5 million customers in the second quarter, which makes it the fifth consecutive quarter in which the carrier added more than 1 million subscribers. The influx of new customers meant that T-Mobile's revenue rose by 15.4 percent to $7.2 billion. 50 million total subscribers now."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by synaptik (125) *

      Please everyone just leave T-Mobile alone. They are doing great the last few years.

      I agree, but T-Mobile is doing great because they don't *want* to be left alone. They are being so aggressive with their pricing because they want to be targetted for a buy-out. Their parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG, has made it clear that they want out of that business.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...lowered the price of plans by a 5 to 10 factor.

    Would someone please explain WTF this means?

    If a monthly rate of 10 zorkmids is reduced by 5 to 10 times, then the company would be paying you 40 to 90 zorkmids per month.

    I can see why people might be enthusiastic about that, but I doubt that that is what actually happens.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      5 times lower, 10 times lower.
      Poorly written.
      It just means that if something was $100 before, it's now down to $20 or $10, depending on the service, which is good.

  • Because Taxes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jodka (520060)

    U.S. companies are worth more to foreign companies than to other U.S. companies because foreign companies pay lower income taxes. A U.S. company, Emerson, lost a bid to a French company, Schneider, for APC [wikipedia.org] for that reason. As the WSJ states [wsj.com] (free access to the paywalled article via FaceBook [facebook.com]):

    In 2006, Emerson sought to acquire a company called American Power Conversion (APC). This was a Rhode Island-based company that made more than half of its earnings outside the U.S. Unfortunately, Emerson competed agai

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Oh please, not this shit. Do you not pay attention to US companies playing games with accounting and taxes? I can tell you no US corporation with any decent CFO is paying anywhere close to the published tax rate; it is anywhere from the teens to the single digits. Some very profitable companies end up having no tax liability.

  • Meh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The US market is pretty much dominated by oligopolies. I don't think with laws, markets, and consumers who are backwards there will be much innovation.

    I've worked in telecom, for T-Mobile and it's just ingrained in the system.

    The fact that costs decrease as newer "next gen" networks are implemented but prices do not go down accordingly is a mockery of our intelligence. Marketing, ftw?

    You can literally find white papers from sony ericcson, Nokia, etc documenting it as a selling point for upgrading the networ

    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      Text messages are essentially free for the carrier (due to how they work on the network).

      There are some large overheads when it comes to SMS storing for delivery later as well as high availability implementations. SMS is free to the network if you don't request any delivery retention (ie: keep delivering for a week, otherwise discard) and don't go through a gateway. Most phones don't even support setting that parameter to 0 today nor gatewayless message delivery.

    • My plan is much cheaper than it was 10-15 years ago when I had something like 250 minutes for 50 a month and 10 cent a minute for over that.

  • T-mobile is already quite cheap if you use their SIM and bring your own phone.
  • International carriers have already said that the spectrum allocation in the US makes turning T-Mobile into a good efficient high quality low cost carrier like the rest of the world is impossible. Also this French group doesn't have the cash to buy T-Mobile and there's no indication they can leverage T-Mobile even more than it is now to buy it. No, I'm sorry but Obama's FCC will get their wish which is to let T-Mobile die so Verizon and AT&T can pick up their customers for almost no cost. Sprint's going

  • by Gobelet (892738) on Friday August 01, 2014 @07:10AM (#47580223)

    French here. Iliad's strategy might be good in the short term for consumers, but in the long run, this might just have catastrophic consequences. Let me explain.

    They have the same strategy as Easyjet when they entered the air travel market - low prices and agressive marketing. Indeed, people sometimes didn't need all the "options" other airlines made them get, like assigned seats, meals. It makes sense on short trips : Nice-Geneva is a 45 minute flight, and you sure don't need food, beverages, or a specific seat on the plane for short-haul flights.

    This worked well, too - many local airlines crashed and burn when they couldn't compete with their prices. The perverse effect, now, is that Easyjet is the only option for many routes, and they hiked up the prices when they didn't have anybody left as concurrence.

    The telecom market in France is currently tanking - you need a license to operate on GSM airwaves. The government opened up for a fourth carrier, Free took the shot and announced their aggressive pricing. The others had to follow suit, and that was before deploying 4G, a huge infrastructure cost for carriers. They signed a roaming deal with Orange in order to provide service everywhere, but terms were not really well set, and Orange's network was sometimes overloaded by Free's subscribers.

    Now all the carriers in France offer the same deal as Free. Sure, the customer is happy with that, but carriers now have less and less cash to improve infrastructure, and it has desastrous effect on quality of service. Recently SFR, once the second biggest carrier, got sold to a Dutch company. Bouygues Telecom, the third biggest carrier, is for sale. Free is breathing in their neck, offering to buy it for less than what it's worth. Orange offered to buy them but withdrew their offer.

    SFR's network is dwindling fast, Bouygues no longer has the economic power to improve, Orange is still afloat because it's the spin-off of France Telecom, the old public phone company, and Free is still there, working on their network at the slowest pace ever because they don't have the cash to build up,

    Everyone is slowly crashing. As soon as Bouygues is out of the picture and SFR will no longer be competitive, Free will be able to hike the prices, just like they did on their ADSL offer.

    Low prices is not always good for the customer.

    • by christophe (36267) on Friday August 01, 2014 @08:53AM (#47580619) Journal
      Another French here. I don't think the higher prices that we paid before Free appeared were so good for investments. On the contrary: since Free appeared, Orange and the 2 other providers pushed and marketed heavily the "4G" (LTE), that Free does not offer. They had to compete on quality because they could not cope with the price. In 2005 (Free was not a mobile provider yet) they were together sentenced to 535 million euros due to an unlawful agreement. The market forces did not apply anymore, a big problem on the long term. We did not destroy the France Telecom monopoly in order to have a private oligopoly. Private firms will not invest on hardware if they can avoid it. Either they do it to provide better product or service (and the price will be higher), or they are forced by law.
      • by Gobelet (892738)

        Free does offer LTE, actually. Their speed is among the highest among all carriers - at least on speed tests, but you would have to find one of their antennas, they are very sparse. My point still holds: Free cannot deploy their LTE network any faster due to their lack of investment power. They DID snatch 11% of the marketshare but it is also dwindling, since pretty much all French mobile plans are no contract, now. I jumped through all 4 carriers myself, porting my number on each of them. Free cannot hold

    • French here. Iliad's strategy might be good in the short term for consumers, but in the long run, this might just have catastrophic consequences. Let me explain.

      ...

      SFR's network is dwindling fast, Bouygues no longer has the economic power to improve, Orange is still afloat because it's the spin-off of France Telecom, the old public phone company, and Free is still there, working on their network at the slowest pace ever because they don't have the cash to build up,

      Since you are French I am shocked that you made such a big mistake, but Orange is not a "spinoff" of France Telecom. Orange is France Telecom. The FT name is no more. It is now Orange.

  • by Lorens (597774) on Friday August 01, 2014 @07:19AM (#47580237) Journal

    Before launching their mobile telephony offering and forcing the previous oligopoly to slash their prices, Free did the same with ADSL Internet (and ISTR with dialup before that). I pay something like USD 45/month for:

    - uncapped broadband with static IP and valid rDNS (living in an area well covered by DSL that is about 17 Mbps down, but if/when their fiber gets here I'll pay the same price for 1 Gbps!)

    - plus unlimited telephone to fixed and mobiles in France, to fixed in some 100 other countries and to mobile in some countries, relatively low rates otherwise

    - a SIM card with unlimited SMS, 50Gb 3G/4G data/month, 2 hours phone (the unlimited version would set me back some USD 22/month more) and extremely competitive rates for anything not included

    - Some 600 television channels (some of which you have to pay extra for, sure), with timeshifting, pay-per-view video on demand, and free replay (usually the last week of popular series, depending on the channel)

    - an ADSL box "Freebox", extremely well thought out (hello Rani) with a really excellent user interface (web browser, games, what have you), a 4-port gigabit switch, a Blu-Ray reader, a 250 GB disk that can be used as a NAS and for recording television programs

    - lots of techie goodies (IPv6 if I want it, messages left on my answering machine can be forwarded to an e-mail address, I can force certain MACs to an IP so that I have the same IP whether connected by WiFi or Ethernet, and, and, and, isn't there a length limit on comments here?)

    I'm looking at moving to the US (like SF or NY, https://www.linkedin.com/pub/l... [linkedin.com] ), so I read the Comcast horror stories with interest. In comparison, I have called Free tech support once in six years, after a storm killed my Freebox. It was replaced (without charge I believe), and nobody even hinted that I might like to buy anything more. If they manage to buy a US provider, no question, I'll be their client.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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