Paris, 30th July 2015
Today, ARCEP is publishing the results of its 16th quality audit of mobile operators’ services in Metropolitan France.
The goal: to enable consumers to make informed choices
Users can base their choice of mobile operator on four criteria: the features of the plan (number of Gb/month, whether overseas calls are included, etc.), price, quality of service and coverage. If the information that is publicly available allows users to compare operators reliably on the first two criteria, it is much harder for them to compare quality and coverage levels, particularly for mobile services.
To improve the market’s transparency on this point, in July 2014 ARCEP implemented an observatory of mobile coverage and service quality. After having updated it in May 2015 by including verification of operators’ 3G and 4G coverage maps, today ARCEP is enhancing its scoreboard with new results on the quality of operators’ mobile services.
Orange in the lead, Bouygues Telecom and SFR neck and neck, with a slight advantage for Bouygues Telecom; Free Mobile in last place
As in 2014, the results of the latest audit reveal substantial disparities in the four operators’ quality of service levels: the ranking established in last year’s audit remains unchanged. Orange is the operator with the highest overall score, with 153 indicators scoring above average, whether for telephony, SMS or data products. With 52 and 42 indicators scoring above average, respectively, Bouygues Telecom and SFR are more or less tied, both scoring lower than Orange but with a slight advantage for Bouygues. Meanwhile Free Mobile, whose 3G network is still being deployed, has scored considerably less well on a sizeable number of indicators, with nine indicators scoring above average. Further details on the audit are available in the appendix, and on the observatory’s web page.
ARCEP enhances its observatory of mobile coverage and service quality, and makes a range of information available as open data
With the publication of the findings of the latest audit, ARCEP is also introducing several improvements to its observatory of mobile coverage and service quality that was launched in 2014. These include:
- the addition of an interactive section that allows users to explore the findings of ARCEP audits in a more user-friendly way;
- the ability to see how operators’ are performing in the different parts of France: in high density, medium density and rural areas;
- the publication of a range of open data: coverage rates for each municipality in Metropolitan France, 2G, 3G and 4G accessibility levels on each roadway and railway measured, etc.
APPENDIX: 2015 quality audit of mobile services
The 2015 audit was conducted from February to May 2015. It provided an opportunity to take close to 160,000 measurements on 2G, 3G and 4G systems across the country, both indoors and outdoors, and on transportation systems: underground, commuter trains (RER), regional railway (TER), high-speed railway (TGV) and motorways.
Strict methodology and commitment to transparency
The audit was carried out according to a very strict methodology, which was defined in close collaboration with operators and consumers. ARCEP is committed to ensuring the entities charged with conducting the audit comply fully with this methodology. During verifications conducted after auditing in the field had been completed, ARCEP observed that around 25% of the audit testing had been performed with SIM cards that did not meet the specifications. As they failed to satisfy the representativeness objectives set by ARCEP, these measurements were not included in the final results. Certain data services indicators could therefore not be calculated, as there were too few measurements to input. These indicators will be available starting in 2016.
New additions to the audit
Compared to the 2014 audit, the 2015 edition includes a complete set of scores on 4G. In addition, data services are now being tested on the main transportation arteries (roadways, high-speed rail, underground, commuter trains and regional railway systems), along with calling and SMS services. This means that operators’ performances in these areas can now be compared.