ARCEP publishes its observatory of electronic communications markets in France in Q4 2013: subscriptions and traffic continue to increase sharply, while revenue continues to decline

Paris, 3rd April 2014

Fixed and mobile accounts and network traffic continue to grow at a steady pace

The number of fixed network broadband and ultra-fast broadband accounts in France stood at 24.9 million as of 31 December 2013. Just over two million of these subscriptions are to a superfast service, which is 440,00 more than in Q4 2012, and which represented close to half of the 900,000 new broadband and superfast accounts created in 2013.

Sustained by the increasing number of flat rate plans and the growing MtoM market, the number of SIM cards being used on mobile networks grew to 76.8 million by the end of Q4 2013, which is 3.6 million (or close to 5%) more than in Q4 2012.

Voice calling traffic on both fixed and mobile networks grew by 1.2% compared to Q4 2012, and by 2.7% for the whole of 2013, thanks to an ongoing steady rise in consumption amongst customers with a mobile phone, who consumed 36.3 billion minutes in Q4 2013, which is 3.7 billion minutes more than in Q4 2012. In the final quarter of 2013, mobile customers generated over three hours a month of calling traffic, on average, or 15 minutes more than one year earlier. On the other hand, the number of calling minutes originating on fixed lines, including public payphones, is decreasing, dropping by 10.3% compared to a year before in Q4 2013.

Users’ growing appetite for internet access and content on their mobiles is being confirmed quarter on quarter: the amount of data traffic on mobile networks increased by 67% compared to the year before in Q4 2013, and by 63.3% for the whole of 2013.

Messaging traffic (SMS and MMS) also continues to be heavy, with 52 billion messages sent during the quarter – which is 3.9% more than in Q4 2012 – and a total of 193 million messages sent in 2013 as a whole.


As in other European countries, electronic communications operators’ retail market revenue in France has been decreasing for two years.

In Q4 2013, telecom operators’ retail market revenue stood at €9.4 billion, excluding VAT, which marks an 8.3% decrease compared to Q4 2012 (at constant scope, i.e. discounting the impact of the merger between France Telecom and Orange France). Operators’ retail market revenue for the whole of 2013 came to €38 billion (provisional figure) which, at constant scope, translates into a roughly 7.7% decrease compared to 2012.

All market segments have been affected by the downward trend: fixed services revenue shrank by 3.9% on the year compared to Q4 2012, and mobile services revenue by 15.8%. Looking at the whole of 2013, fixed services revenue shrank by 3.1% and mobile services revenue by 14% compared to 2012. Fixed services in fact generated more revenue than mobile services in Q4 2013, for the first time since 2005.

 

Indicators

Q4 2013

Growth in %

Q4 2012 – Q4 2013

(at constant scope)

Growth in %

2012 – 2013

(at constant scope)

Fixed services revenue

€3.7 billion, excl. VAT

-3.9%

-3.1%

Mobile services revenue

€3.5 billion, excl. VAT

-15.8%

-14%

Operators’ total revenue

€9.4 billion, excl. VAT

-8.3%

-7.7%

Fixed superfast broadband subscriptions

2 billion subscriptions

+27.6%

+27.6%

Mobile subscriptions (SIM cards)

76.8 billion SIM cards

+4.9%

+4.9%

Mobile voice traffic

36.3 billion minutes

+11.3%

+14.9%

SMS traffic

50.9 billion SMS

+3.9%

+5.6%

Mobile data traffic

47,548 Terabytes

+67%

+63.3%

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