After the thunderous announcement of the Freebox Ultra, Free is reportedly preparing a new version of its Freebox Pop, with several notable improvements but also a disappearance which will exclude certain subscribers.
Last week, the operator Free lifted the veil on its latest Internet box, the Freebox Ultra, in a conference in the company’s characteristic style, between an American-style keynote and a spicy one-man show. Despite being high-end, the new Freebox has no shortage of advantages and is even the most complete box in terms of technologies and services available to date in France. However, the company still seems to have a few surprises in store for the year 2024, as revealed by certain documents published on its site, apparently by mistake, and since withdrawn. We learn in particular of the existence of a new version of the Freebox Pop, with several interesting new features… but also a change which could exclude certain subscribers.
Freebox Pop 2024: Wi-Fi 7 but no more ADSL
Free has obviously published certain documents relating to the new version of Freebox Pop currently being prepared somewhat prematurely. On Twitter (alias X), user TiinoX83 shared the technical instructions for several Free equipment. There we find in particular the files of the Freebox Ultra, the Pocket Wi-Fi and the Wi-Fi 7 Repeater officially announced during the Free conference, but also those of the Freebox Pop Server and Player, stamped “2024”. If an update of these products released four years ago is not surprising, Free probably did not want to communicate on it at the moment, in order to leave the media space free for its Freebox Ultra, and has since removed the notices from its site.
Official PDF new Freebox
– Freebox Ultra: wall-mountable
– New Freebox Pop Server only fiber, Wi-Fi 7 (without 6 GHz), On/Off button, wall-mountable
– Wi-Fi 7 repeater, No 6 GHz band
– Pocket Wi-Fi, LTE Cat.4, Wi-Fi 4
PDF links pic.twitter.com/wDMt7BZvvf
— Tiino-X83 (@TiinoX83) February 1, 2024
Not quickly enough, however, to prevent the curious from retrieving and publishing these documents, which therefore allow us to have an overview of the technical new features brought by the Freebox Pop version 2024. First important information, we learn that Wi-Fi 7 will not be not the prerogative of the Freebox Ultra, the future Pop model must also benefit from the latest wireless communication protocol standard. However, unlike the Ultra, the Freebox Pop 2024 will not manage the new 6 GHz frequency band and will have to make do with the classic 2.4 and 5 GHz, which will somewhat limit the interest of Wi-Fi 7 on this model. Another new feature, a physical on-off switch will appear on the Pop’s case and will allow it to be turned off or restarted more quickly. A practical button to save money. Finally, a hanging system for wall mounting will be added to the lower part of the box, in order to be able to connect the box as close as possible to the optical termination socket (PTO) of its housing.
On the other hand, this 2024 version of the Freebox Pop confirms the inexorable, and forced, advance of the operator towards all fiber optics, with the regrettable disappearance of the ADSL socket. Like the Freebox Ultra, this model will therefore only be reserved for subscribers with optical fiber in their home. If this technology is obviously the natural and desirable evolution of wired telecommunications networks in France, its deployment for all users is still far from complete, notwithstanding the latest figures from operators and ARCEP, which only give a macroscopic vision and completely eludes a large number of particular situations. And contrary to popular belief, residents of rural, isolated or difficult-to-access areas are not the only ones to be deprived of this technology, many homes in very dense urban areas are not yet connected, either due to lack of interest from operators for certain popular cities, or by refusal of owners to have optical fiber installed in their building, to the detriment of their tenants.
Freebox Player: a new TV box for the Freebox Ultra
During the Freebox Ultra presentation conference, one element caught some observers’ attention: the absence of a TV box dedicated to the new box. For the moment, subscribers who turn to the new Freebox Ultra offer will have to “settle” for the Pop Player, i.e. the TV box included in the Freebox Pop offer. In an interview granted to the Univers Freebox sitethe boss of Free returns to this notable absence and explains it in particular by the evolution of the viewing habits of subscribers, who now use their smartphone or connected television more to access video content.
The need to renew the Freebox TV box was therefore not urgent and the teams therefore focused instead on their development of the new Freebox Ultra Server. Nevertheless, Xavier Niel confirms that a new Player is indeed under development, with a desired release for spring 2024, but specifying that the project seems to have fallen far behind schedule and will certainly be postponed further into the year.