France telecoms market sees record investment, driven by fibre

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The French Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Post (Arcep) has released its annual report on the French telecoms market. 

Amongst the findings, the report found that 2019 saw operators invest €500m more than in 2018, for an overall total (excluding spending on frequencies) of €10.4bn. 

According to Arcep, this is the third year in-a-row that the increase in investment is due mainly to a rise in operators’ spending on fibre deployments. At the end of 2019, 18.3m premises were eligible to subscribe to a fibre access plan, which represents 4.8m additional access lines deployed in a single year. Alongside this record growth is the steadily increasing pace of fibre adoption: 7.1 million households had adopted fibre technology by the end of 2019 - a rise of 2.3m year-on-year.

This increase in spending, said the report, has also gone hand in hand with a decrease in operators’ revenue (-1 per cent in 2019) and virtually unchanged prices for residential fixed and mobile services in Metropolitan France over the course of 2019. After a sometimes very significant drop in prices in 2018, operators scaled back their promotional offers last year.

In terms of traffic, the trend on fixed and mobile networks is in keeping with the previous years. This includes an ongoing surge in mobile network traffic, for voice calls ( up 4 per cent) but especially for data services (a rise of 44 per cent year-on-year). 4G network users are rising at an increasingly fast pace: up 7.1m versus 6.1m in 2018, reaching 54.8m at the end of 2019. These customers consumed an average 8.6G of data a month, which is 2G more than the previous year.

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