ARCEP publishes its scorecard for electronic communications markets in France in Q3 2012: revenue continues to drop but consumption skyrocketing

Paris, 10 January 2013

The revenue generated by fixed and mobile services in France has been shrinking for two years straight

In the third quarter of 2012, revenue generated by electronic communications services (excluding subsidiary income) stood at €9.7 billion, excluding VAT, which marks a 4.8% decrease compared to Q3 2011. During the first nine months of the year, revenue was down by 3.7% compared to the same period in 2011.

Revenue earned on wireline services (€3.9 billion excl. VAT) has been shrinking since late 2010 - dropping by a further 1.4% on the year in Q3 2012 - due to a swift decline in narrowband services which has not been entirely offset by the, albeit steady, increase in revenue from broadband and ultra-fast broadband services (which has risen by 6% to 8% annually over the past five quarters). Meanwhile, revenue from mobile services (€4.4 billion excl. VAT) has been decreasing since Q2 2011 (down by 9.1% on the year in Q3 2012). This trend has in fact been accelerating since the start of 2012, due in part to operators' introduction of new, cheaper and commitment-free flat rate plans.

But traffic rising sharply and customer numbers continue to grow

Mobile customers' consumption levels have risen sharply: "voice" calling traffic is up by 15.8% compared to Q3 2011 - which is the highest increase of the past eight years - while SMS traffic was up by 23.1% and mobile data traffic by 72.1%. This trend can be attributed to a strong increase in customer numbers, and especially in customers who have signed up for a high-volume plan. There were 72 million mobile customers in France at the end of September 2012 (measured in number of active SIM cards), which is 5 million more than the year before and translates into a penetration rate of 110.3%.

At the same time, active broadband and ultra-fast broadband accounts grew by 1.3 million to reach 23.6 million by the end of September 2012, of which 1.5 million are ultra-fast broadband accounts. Meanwhile, calling on wireline networks - which totalled at 25.3 billion minutes during the quarter - was down slightly compared to Q3 2011 (-0.6%).

Linked documents

The Observatory (pdf - 863 Ko) (pdf - in French only)