ADSLGuide has noted a piece in The Guardian newspaper, which claims that Wanadoo is reportedly poised to launch its own take on a "free" broadband product when it merges with the Orange brand next week:
To try to stop Wanadoo's existing one million broadband and one million dial-up internet-access customers running off to TalkTalk, Orange plans to offer "free" broadband to customers who also take a mobile phone contract. They will also get a bundle of cheap fixed-line calls, including free calls to other Orange customers.
The new broadband service, backed by a huge advertising campaign, still needs the sign-off of Orange's owners France Télécom. But the company has already scheduled a major marketing push to coincide with the launch of the merged Orange/Wanadoo business on June 1, or "O-Day" as Orange has codenamed it. It also remains unclear what customers of Wanadoo who do not want a mobile package will be offered to stop them defecting.
Orange is looking to tie customers who opt for the free broadband offer into long-term contracts. The TalkTalk offer is conditional upon customers signing up for 18 months and Orange is understood to be considering two year-long contracts for its "free" broadband offer. A spokesman for Orange refused to comment.
The official announcement is due on Wednesday next week and interested surfers would be well advised not to jump on the bandwagon too quickly. There's no such thing as a free lunch and long contracts are quite frankly, evil.