ARCEP publishes its observatory of electronic communications markets in France in Q4 2014: - Consumption of electronic communications services continues unabated; - Revenue stabilised at the end of 2014 after three years of decline;- Investments flag after three banner years.

Paris, 2nd April 2015

Subscriptions and traffic both reporting a significant increase, especially for broadband and superfast broadband services

The number of fixed broadband and ultra-fast broadband accounts in France rose by 4.1% during the year, up to 26 million as of 31 December 2014. Superfast access lines are responsible for the entirety of this growth, increasing by one million over the course of the year, to reach 3.1 subscriptions as of 31 December 2014, or 12% of all internet access lines.

Over in the mobile market, SIM card numbers also increased by 4.1% in 2014, up to a total 79.9 million cards by year end. More than half of these cards are used on 3G networks (42.8 million active 3G cards, +17.1% on the year) and one in seven on a 4G network, or a total 11 million at the end of December 2014.

Users' appetite for new generation access networks is translating into an ongoing increase in data traffic: for the second quarter in a row, data traffic doubled over the previous year, totalling 96 Petabytes in Q4 2014. Average consumption per card, excluding M2M cards, also doubled over the course of the year, up to 460 Mb a month.

Other forms of traffic originating on mobiles is on the rise as well: the number of SMS and MMS sent stood at 51.5 billion in Q4 2014, or 2.4% more than the year before, while mobile calling traffic increased by 5.1% over the previous year. Average consumption per subscriber stands at 3 hours and 6 minutes of calling a month (+4 minutes on the year) and 249 SMS (-2 SMS on the year). On the flipside, voice calling traffic originating on fixed networks as decreased by close to 10% since the end of 2013.

Electronic communications operators' retail market revenue stabilising: -1.2% on the year in Q4, or €9.4 billion, excl. VAT.

The retail revenue generated by operators' fixed and mobile services has held steady since the start of 2014, coming to €3.7 billion excl. VAT and 3.5 billion excl. VAT, respectively, but down in comparison to 2013. This has translated into a levelling off the average invoice per SIM card (excluding M2M cards) at around €16.40 excl. VAT, since the start of 2014, after having decreased steadily since the end of 2010, at which point it stood at close to €27 excl. VAT.

Operator investments totalled €6.9 billion for the year, or roughly 4% less than in 2013, after three straight years of very heavy spending: in excess of €7 billion per annum. This change could be a result of the series of mergers and acquisitions in the sector in 2014.

Linked documents

- The Observatory