French ISP Free has launched its mobile phone service, offering a basic cellular package for free to customers who already subscribe to its Freebox service, or for €2 a month to those who don't — with no commitment. This price is even more remarkable considering the investment Free has made into building its own network, rather than simply creating an MVNO and piggybacking on another operator. The entry level package is basic: you'll get 60 minutes to landlines and mobiles, and 60 SMS messages. If you feel that's going to limit you, then there's also a €15.99 package (€19.99 if you don't have a subscription to the provider's other services) which offers unlimited calls and texts, access to the ISP's public Wi-Fi hotspots, and 3GB of uncapped data — though you'll be throttled if you go over this limit.

The plans don't include a handset, but Free will allow you to spread the cost of a phone over three years. If you decide to leave the network, the only cost will be paying off the balance of the handset. While Free currently only operates in France, it seems likely that if this catches on then the model could spread. A move like this could be disruptive — as long as the network is strong enough to support the likely influx of customers.