Paris, 15 July 2010
In 2009, ARCEP performed its twelfth consecutive annual assessment of the quality of service provided on the second and third generation mobile networks operated by Orange France, SFR and Bouygues Telecom in mainland France.
This survey is part of the Authority's broader efforts to improve the information on electronic communications services that is available to consumers.
The goal of the survey is to assess the quality of voice call, SMS, MMS, WAP browsing and videophony services provided to consumers, and the speeds that can be reached on mobile networks.
Through technical measurements taken in the field, the survey aims to provide a statistical account of the quality of the services delivered by the operators' networks. Its purpose is not to obtain subscribers' views of the end-to-end quality of these services - through a customer survey, for instance - which could depend on the use they make of the network or the devices and applications they employ.
- Quality of voice call services still high
The survey performed in 2009 confirms that the quality of voice calls over these telephone networks continues to be as high as it has for the past several years. The service was tested in 52 towns and cities with a population of more than 10,000 - both indoors and outdoors and in a moving vehicle.
The inclusion of towns with a population of 10,000 to 20,000 in 2009 did not alter the quality level.
It also emerged that five-minute calls, which were included in the survey for the first time in 2009 survey, are of slightly lesser quality than calls lasting two minutes. The results of the tests in fact reveal success rates for setting up and holding a call for 2 minutes and 5 minutes of 97.3% and 96.6%, respectively.
The quality of the phone service when travelling was also measured on the main TGV (high-speed train) lines, in commuter trains for the main cities and on the most heavily used motorways.
The quality provided on the TGV has improved, with the rate of perfect quality calls increasing by 3%. Quality levels are down on commuter trains, however, with the rate of perfect quality calls having decreased by 4%. The results for motorways are by and large the same as those obtained in 2008.
- Access speeds on mobile networks in France continue to rise
File transfer tests were performed in the 12 largest metropolitan areas in France, and in 20 towns and cities with a population of between 50,000 and 400,000, using USB keys or PCMCIA cards plugged into a laptop computer, or directly via the netbooks that telecom carriers sell.
The results of these tests reveal average speeds that are more than one and a half times higher than those obtained in 2008: an average download speed of 2.2 Mbit/s and more than 5 Mbit/s for the fastest services and, for sending files, an average upload speed of 1.2 Mbit/s and more than 1.7 Mbit/s for the fastest services. These speeds were achieved using the most high-end solution that each telco markets in its retail outlets.
These bitrates are comparable to the access rates supplied by entry-level ADSL fixed network services.
- The quality of SMS services still very satisfactory, but that of MMS and WAP services has declined
The quality of SMS, MMS and WAP services was tested in the 12 largest metropolitan areas in France, and in 20 towns and cities with a population of between 50,000 and 400,000.
The results for SMS (i.e. texting) services reveal the same high level of quality provided by these services for several years, with a success rate of over 99%.
The quality of MMS and WAP services, on the other hand, has declined by 4% and 2%, respectively, since 2008.
And, finally, the videophony services provided by all three operators, tested for the first time in 2009 in the 12 largest cities in France, achieve a success rate for setting up and holding a call for 2 minutes of 88.9%.
The inclusion of Web browsing on smartphones in the 2010 survey will help expand the field of enquiry.
The survey's complete findings, which include a description of the testing protocol and detailed results for each operator, are available, in French, on the ARCEP website.
The survey 2009 (pdf - 0.94 Mo) (pdf - )