Arcep publishes 3Q08 market report; telephony subs top 40.2m, broadband accesses hit 17.2m, IPTV base reaches 5.64m

6 Feb 2009

The French telecoms regulator Arcep has published its market report for the quarter ended 30 September 2008. According to the watchdog, income from retail services earned services providers booked EUR11.1 billion (USD billion) in the third quarter, while interconnection services and wholesale services generated EUR2.2 billion. Excluding value added service providers (e.g. directories, advertising, hosting and call centre management) the telecoms industry generated income of EUR10.1 billion in the third quarter of 2008, up 2.4% year-on-year.

In the fixed telephony and internet segment, Arcep reported that the number of subscriptions to telephony services stood at 40.2 million at the end of the third quarter of 2008, up 2.4% y-o-y, thanks to the continued popularity of DSL or cable-based IP telephony services which increased by 38.1% in the year while the corresponding total for traditional POTS accesses fell by 9.4% to 26.7 million. By the start of October voice over broadband (VoB) subscriptions accounted for 13.5 million, or one-third of the total for telephone subscribers in the country. However, Arcep notes that VoB growth is slowing: net additions stood at 700,000 in 3Q08, compared with a million net additions in each of the previous three quarters.

The number of internet subscriptions reached 18.3 million at the end of third quarter of 2008, of which 17.2 million were receiving some form of broadband access – mainly ADSL. The number of broadband internet accesses grew by 2.4 million, or 15.9%, in the year to end-September 2008, compared with three million net additions in the twelve months to 30 September 2007, Arcep said. Internet income rose 16.9% y-o-y in the third quarter, to EUR1.3 billion, with the overwhelming majority (EUR1.2 billion) due to broadband access. Arcep said broadband ARPU is stable, standing at EUR24 per month – unchanged for two years.

France was home to 5.643 million IPTV subscribers by the end of September 2008, according to data published by the telecoms regulator Arcep, up 1.6 million or 39% on the same period of 2007. At that date, IPTV subscribers accounted for 34.6% of the country’s 16.229 million ADSL user base, compared to 28.8% the previous year. France Telecom’s ‘Orange TV’ service accounted for around 1.5 million of the total at that date, ahead of neuf Cegetel’s rival ‘neuf TV’ offer with 850,000, and Iliad-owned ISP Alice with 150,000.

In the mobile services segment, France reported a total of 56.4 million registered SIM cards at the end of the third quarter of 2008, up 6% y-o-y. Income from mobile services (voice and data) amounted to EUR4.7 billion in 3Q08, up 4.5% on the corresponding period of 2007 and comparing favourably with growth of 5% and 6% in each of the two previous years. Revenues from data services topped EUR798 million Arcep said, adding that contribution of this income is increasing. Mobile multimedia services (access to mobile internet, sending MMS) were used by 17.4 million customers during the quarter. The use of these services is progressing at a rate of 15% per year since the third quarter of 2007. The number of active users of 3G services (including voice, video, mobile TV, data transfer) amounted to 9.4 million by 30 September 2008, representing more than four million net additions in one year. Mobile traffic volumes amounted to 24.4 billion minutes in the third quarter up 1.4% y-o-y, but lower than the average 4% growth recorded in the previous three quarters.

France, Arcep