Founded in 2003, the alliance includes four major mobile operators: Orange, Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom and TeliaSonera. The operators together serve around 400 million customers globally. The FreeMove alliance has operations in 39 European countries as well as in the USA, Asia and across Latin America, with partner operations extending to 82 countries. The FreeMove alliance helps multinational companies to streamline their mobility through a suite of voice and data services, tariff advantages, dedicated account management, and centralised procurement and reporting.
FreeMove works with T-Mobile USA, Cosmote in Greece, Turkcell in Turkey, MegaFon in Russia. They also work with Bridge, the leading mobile alliance in the Asia Pacific region: interviewed and profiled earlier. Freemove’s vision is to provide a global reach for multinational companies with the support and knowledge of local mobile services.
2/ Strategic Directive: Products & Services
‘We do see roaming as being one of our MNC customers primary concerns, especially for the ones who are faced with the necessity to keep their roaming costs under control. This trend will keep rising as globalisation increases. By looking deeper into their travelling behaviour, most calls/usage is made between their international offices and operating units whilst roaming and also via international direct calls. FreeMove analysed that trend and drove the market by launching in 2004 a MNC closed user group proposition (FreeMove International Connect)’ noted Hoesch.
‘FreeMove offers harmonised services as well as access to its Natcos’ roaming portfolios. The Alliance is constantly improving its roaming services and optimising its portfolio so it will be the most competitive one on our respective national markets. FreeMove will continue being the relevant choice for MNCs’, she added.
Since 2009, FreeMove launched harmonized data services across all members and also enables the MNCs to select best in class roaming offers from its member Natcos’ local portfolios.
FreeMove Data Roaming offers allow users to use up to a daily cap for a fixed fee without any additional charges. ‘We even do proactively promote WiFi driven Solutions like FreeMove Remote Access, one of our flagship propositions for MNCs’, added Hoesch.
FreeMove International Roaming offers standardised pricing structures and tariffs for European users on calls from their home country to abroad, calls made while abroad and calls received while abroad, via a single commercial agreement.
There are four roaming zones: Europe (EU and EEA), Extended Europe, USA and Canada and Rest of the World, offering customers the same rates even while connected to different local networks in these zones.
According to the company website, FreeMove International Roaming is currently available for users in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
FreeMove offers three major roaming bundles and plans:
- FreeMove European Monthly Bundle: for business travellers regularly using mobile broadband in Europe.
- FreeMove European Daily Pass: for occasional travellers using mobile broadband.
- FreeMove International Pay As You Go: Charging based on roaming zones.
The following developments occurred since January 2013.
- In November 2013, FreeMove Alliance was awarded a contract by Coca Cola Hellenic to provide more than 24,000 SIMs to the latter’s mobile workforce across 16 countries. The contract included account management and centralised reporting.
- In September 2013, Freemove Alliance announced its partnership with eircom, the Irish telecom operator, increasing its global footprint.
- The company, in July 2013, announced a similar deal to support Bosch with 22,000 SIMs across Europe in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey and United Kingdom.
- FreeMove is currently focused on implementing the EU Roaming regulations to take effect in July 2014.
- Roaming drivers: ‘We see an increased demand of accessing information from anywhere, including from abroad. Customers are becoming more mobile in their daily work, which our teams are addressing with improved roaming propositions. Increased globalisation and increased mobile lifestyles give a good growth foundation, in particular with data roaming’, noted Silke Hoesch from FreeMove Alliance
- LTE Roaming: However, Silke Hoesch noted that in order to achieve the full potential of LTE roaming, successful business models towards end-users and between operators are needed. ‘This will in turn result in higher data usage in the future, but we understand that data roaming is driven by domestic data usage in the first place. Users want to bring their domestic behaviour also when traveling abroad, and the more data intensive services (video, etc.) they will use, the higher bandwidth capacity should be provided’ she added.
- Roaming regulatory issues in Europe: ‘With respect to elimination of roaming charges within the EU, it is important to point out that it is still a proposal and includes many uncertainties that need to be clarified, both in the proposal as such and in the implications it has for our business, before we can give more comments around it. In general, while we expect operator revenues to be impacted with this proposal, FreeMove believes roaming is a global market and is committed to delivering competitive roaming offers that are more relevant to our customer base of MNCs, as they operate around the world, and not strictly in Europe’ noted Silke Hoesch.
Written by Nitin Bhas / Juniper Research