Electronic communications market observatory (broadband and ultra-fast broadband wireline and wireless services) in France in Q2 2012: healthy market momentum

Paris, 6 September 2012

Strong uptick in the rate of mobile customer growth since the start of 2012

There were 70.4 million mobile customers (active SIM cards) in France in June 2012, and the net quarterly growth of 900,000 customers is virtually double what it was in Q2 2011. Growth in the first quarter of this year had already been equally exceptional, and also saw an additional 900,000 accounts opened up.

The number of pay-as-you-go customers, too, has risen sharply since the start of the year - increasing by 1.1 million on the quarter. They now represent 26.6% of all mobile lines, compared to 19% to 20% from 2008 to 2011.

MVNOs' market share was up slightly during the quarter - 11.35% compared to 11.21% in Q1 2012 - thanks to an additional 191,000 cards being issued. Virtual operators were serving a total 7.7 million lines as of June 2012.

The number of retail market broadband and ultra-fast broadband subscriptions stands at 23.3 million or 250,000 more than in the previous quarter

The growth momentum in the fixed broadband and ultra-fast broadband market is also solid, with gross sales (1.025 million in Q2 2012) up by 50,000 compared to the first quarter of 2010 and 2011.

The number of high-speed internet access lines reached 22.6 million (+210,000) by the end of the quarter, thanks to a rise in DSL subscriptions.

Meanwhile, the number of ultra-fast broadband subscriptions came to 760,000 in June 2012, which is 45,000 more than in the previous quarter.

Spending continues in the wholesale market

All operators have made substantial investments over the past several years - in many instances with the support of local authorities - which has enabled them to deliver a wide range of products to an increasingly large percentage of the population. At the end of Q2 2012, alternative operators had unbundled 6,257 exchanges, which represents roughly 85.7% of all existing lines. Of all the lines eligible for LLU, 10,489 connections have been unbundled, with marks an increase of one million lines in a year (+11%).

The country's only cable company continues to upgrade its broadband access network, replacing coaxial cable with optical fibre. At the end of the second quarter, around 4,490,000 were eligible to subscribe to a superfast optical fibre solution with coaxial cable in the last metres, including 1,415,000 households located outside very high-density areas.

Operators are also continuing their fibre to the home (FTTH) rollouts. 1,750,000 homes had been passed for FTTH as of 30 June 2012, or 45% more than last year. 785,000 of these households (up 134% on 2011) have a choice between at least two fibre access providers, thanks to network sharing schemes provided for by regulation. Also noteworthy is that 260,000 of these 1,750,000 households are located outside very high-density areas and 280,000 connections have been deployed by public-initiative networks.

A total of more than 5,500,000 households were thus able to subscribe to an ultra-fast broadband access solution at the end of Q2 2012, including 1,665,000 outside of very high-density areas - with some having access to two competing superfast services, one over the upgraded cable system and the other over an FTTH network.


Linked documents

RETAIL Market (in French only)

WHOLESALE Market (in French only)