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France - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

France - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

  • January 2018
  • 87 pages
  • ID: 5273171

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France’s second telco SFR to be rebranded as Altice in 2018
France has the third largest telecoms market in Europe.


The incumbent telco Orange Group is one of the world’s major operators, with interests in markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Domestically, the company still dominates all sectors despite market liberalisation, though increasing competition from major players such as SFR Group and Iliad has gradually eroded this lead.

The mobile sector is dominated by four providers, Orange, SFR Group, Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile, complemented by a good number of MVNOs which together have a market share of subscribers approaching 11%. The MNOs have invested in network infrastructure and technologies in recent years. LTE-A providing data at above 300Mb/s has extensive coverage, while both Orange and Bouygues Telecom are involved in 5G trials. The regulator has also been supportive, having in late 2017 started a procedure to allocate a portion of the 3.5GHz band for 5G in anticipation of that technology coming into commercial use.

France also has one of the largest broadband subscriber bases in Europe. Growth in recent years has been bolstered by demand for high bandwidth services, which has prompted considerable investment in fibre infrastructure among telcos and regional governments. This has been supported by regulatory measures which have promoted access to Orange’s copper and fibre infrastructure for new entrants, as well as a national broadband program which involves an investment of more than €20 billion. Of this sum, telcos are commercially responsible to building out infrastructure affecting almost 60% of the population, with the balance being covered by local government initiatives at cost of about €14 billion. Progress in deployment has been rapid, while the take-up rate among consumers has also increased substantially.

This report introduces the key aspects of France’s telecom market, providing statistics on the fixed network, an analysis of operator strategies, and a review of the key regulatory issues including the status of number portability, wholesaling and carrier preselection. The report also assesses the mobile voice and data markets, providing analyses on recent developments related to spectrum licensing and regulatory issues, as also on the deployment of emerging technologies. In addition the report covers the fixed and fixed-wireless broadband market, focussing on cable, DSL and the fast-developing FttP/C sectors. It reviews the strategies of the principal providers such as Orange, Iliad and SFR Group, and considers the regulatory status of LLU and access to fibre infrastructure.

Key developments:

  • Bouygues completes sale of 600 towers to Cellnex;
  • Bouygues Telecom sets up Objenious subsidiary dedicated to the Internet of Things;
  • Ireland-France Cable-1 system set to begin construction;
  • Orange’s LoRa network available in 4,000 towns by mid-2017;
  • SFR to be rebranded as Altice by mid-2018;
  • Orange partners with Ericsson and Nokia to develop a path to 5G;
  • Orange Group opens Orange Bank;
  • Regulator proposes mobile broadband use for 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz band spectrum;
  • MVNO market share increases to 10.7% of subscribers;
  • Government proposes new measures to fill gaps in broadband availability;
  • SFR increases footprint of its 1Gb/s FttP service;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to September 2017, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q3 2017, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:
Orange, Iliad (Free Mobile), SFR Group (Numéricable), Bouygues Telecom, Virgin Mobile, Omea Telecom.

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