In accordance with the French Postal and Electronic Communications Code (CPCE), national postal service, La Poste, submitted to Arcep the changes it plans to make to its line of products that are part of the universal postal service, starting on 1 January 2023. Today Arcep is publishing the two opinions it rendered, respectively, on the price and non-price related aspects of these changes.
La Poste centres its product line around a delivery time of three days, instead of the previous two days
The product line planned by La Poste for 2023 repositions the delivery time for several products that are part of the universal service to three days (D+3 versus the current D+2): such is the case for second class “Lettre verte” mail items, registered letters and tracked letters. La Poste also plans on eliminating the current Priority letter with next-day delivery (D+1), while keeping an online letter (red e-letter) for sending the most urgent mail items.
These changes are in line with announcements by the Prime Minister, in reaction to the ongoing decrease in the volume of mail and the universal postal service’s financial imbalance. In July 2021, during the high-level monitoring committee for the La Poste service contract, the Government agreed to support La Poste’s preparation of a new product line by 2023, centred around D+3 delivery and including solutions for the most urgent letters that require next day delivery.
To facilitate changes to the universal postal service, to guarantee its future and its affordability, the Government also announced the implementation of a compensation package for the La Poste universal service mandate, of between 500 and 520 million euros a year, depending on quality-of-service results.
Arcep stresses how important it is for La Poste to communicate effectively about these new products between now 1 January 2023, and for them to be available via different sales channels
In its opinion on the non-price related aspects, Arcep stressed how vital it is for users, both consumers and businesses, to be properly informed. It also noted that it was important that La Poste implement adequate communication mechanisms for universal postal service users, to inform them of the products that will be available to them starting on 1 January 2023, and the conditions under which they can be used.
Because it is so important to guarantee the accessibility of every universal service product, and this across the whole of France, Arcep has made it a priority to ensure that all of the mail products that are part of the universal service can be accessed via the different available channels (in post offices and partner PoS, at self-service kiosks and other points of sale).
A household basket of products with amended features, at the same price as the 2022 basket despite current inflation
Regarding pricing aspects, based on the elements at its disposal, Arcep concluded that the prices set for the universal service product line for 2023 adhere to the principle of affordability, and do not appear to exceed the costs assumed by La Poste.
The household basket of products, which is based on hypotheses of customers switching over to the new line of mail products, will remain stable compared to the 2022 basket, and this despite inflation. The features of the services that make up the basket will change, however, with delivery times for most products being extended to three days.
It should also be noted that prices for the first weight tranche for second class “Lettre verte” mail items and online letters will remain unchanged in 2023.
Arcep requests periodic feedback from La Poste over the course of 2023
To ensure that the new line of universal service products properly satisfy users’ needs, and to enable Arcep to verify that volume and cost trajectories align with La Poste forecasts, Arcep deemed it indispensable to obtain periodic feedback from La Poste, starting in 2023, on the implementation of the planned operations.
 Articles L. 5-2, Para 3 and R. 1-1-10