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Telecoms war heats up

Virgin Mobile is to launch an internet service in September

VIRGIN Mobile is to launch an internet service in September. The company’s announcement is the latest in an increasingly heated battle between telecoms companies.

This month, Free launched its new Free Revolution box, which, along with providing a Blu-Ray player, games console and 250GB disk space, also included free unlimited calls to mobile phones in its contract, a first for France.

The operator is also planning to launch its own mobile phone network, but now says its first contracts will begin in 2012.

Virgin Mobile, which has no network of its own, piggybacking on the Orange mobile network, will choose between SFR, Numericable and Orange for its new internet service.

While Virgin has not revealed its new tariffs, the company has said the industry standard €29.99 for internet, phone and television has been shattered by a rise in VAT at the start of the year.

VAT rates on triple-play deals (internet, phone and television) rose to 19.6 per cent from 5.5 per cent at the start of the year and many operators will be putting up their prices in February as a result.

Consumer watchdog UFC-Que Choisir has said internet service providers are using the tax rise (based on an EU demand to stop using the reduced VAT rate of 5.5 per cent for television on half the triple play bill) as a smokescreen to
put up prices.

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