France's operators see slight revenue gain in Q4 2019, says Arcep

French telecom regulator reports that Q4 2019 revenue grew after almost two years of contraction, supported by mobile services growth.

Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

April 6, 2020

2 Min Read
France's operators see slight revenue gain in Q4 2019, says Arcep

France's telecom regulator Arcep said total revenue of the market's four operators increased by 0.8% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2019 after almost two years of market contraction, supported by a 3.6% rise in mobile services revenue.

Total quarterly revenue amounted to just under €9.2 billion ($9.9 billion), of which almost €3.4 billion ($3.7 billion) was generated by mobile services and almost €4.2 billion ($4.5 billion) by fixed. Although fixed telecoms revenue fell 0.7% year-on-year, Arcep noted that this was an improvement on the first nine months of 2019, when the average decline amounted to 2.8%. It seems that revenue from high-speed broadband access has stabilized, even returning to growth at the end of 2019 with a year-on-year increase of 2.3%.

Arcep said an increasing number of mobile users are connecting to the Internet via 4G networks. The number of 4G SIM cards grew by 7% year-on-year to 54.8 million, out of 77.2 million in total. Data usage is also rising strongly, with average consumption increasing 43% to 7 gigabytes per month. Average data use by 4G users increased by 30% in a year to 9.5 gigabytes per month. Furthermore, average monthly bills increased for the first time in 2019, rising by €0.20 ($0.22) year on year to €14.60 ($15.77). Most customers are now on postpaid contracts as opposed to prepaid.

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It's worth remembering here that French mobile revenue went into something of a tailspin after Iliad's Free entered the market with a low-cost mobile plan in 2012. In its report for the fourth quarter of 2015, Arcep was able to report a slowdown in total service revenue decline to 2.7%, compared with a 7.9% fall in the fourth quarter of 2013, for example.

In terms of fixed broadband, total high-speed or very high-speed connections increased by 2.3% to 29.76 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. However, this figure disguises the fact that fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connections increased 47.2% to over 7 million, as xDSL and cable connections continued to fall. At the end of 2019, 23.5 million premises were covered by high-speed or very high-speed broadband networks, of which 18.5 million or 78% had access to FTTH networks – a rise of 4.8 million year-on-year.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Anne Morris

Contributing Editor, Light Reading

Anne Morris is a freelance journalist, editor and translator. She has been working in the telecommunications sector since 1996, when she joined the London-based team of Communications Week International as copy editor. Over the years she held the editor position at Total Telecom Online and Total Tele-com Magazine, eventually leaving to go freelance in 2010. Now living in France, she writes for a number of titles and also provides research work for analyst companies.

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