According to the latest market report from French telecoms regulator Arcep, domestic telecoms operators generated EUR11.3 billion (USD15.1 billion) in revenues from electronic communications in the fourth quarter, while interconnection services and wholesale sales generated a further EUR2.2 billion in the quarter, it said. Fixed and mobile telephony traffic accounted for 53.6 billion minutes in the fourth quarter of 2008, down 0.5% on the fourth quarter of 2007.
The regulator reported that the number of subscriptions to fixed telephone services reached 40.7 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008, up 2.6% year-on-year, primarily driven by a rise in subscriptions to DSL or cable-based IP telephony services. In 2008 the number of broadband telephony subscriptions grew by 31.8%, or 3.5 million, the regulator noted, while the number of traditional telephone subscriptions fell by 8.5%, or 2.4 million. As at 31 December 2008, the total number of voice over broadband connections reached 14.4 million subscriptions, representing 35% of all telephone subscribers. Arcep said the number of internet subscriptions in the country reached 18.7 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008, of which 17.7 million are broadband access lines. Year-on-year growth was 13.8%, or 2.1 million high speed connections, it said. The previous year’s annual increase was 2.9 million.
In the mobile market, Arcep said the total number of SIM cards in operation reached 58 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008, up 2.6 million or 4.7% year-on-year. The pace of growth in the sector, which reached 7% in the first quarter of 2008, slowed over the full year however. Income from mobile services (voice and data transport) amounted to EUR4.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008. Mobile multimedia services (access to mobile internet, sending MMS) were used by 18.7 million customers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008. The number of active 3G users (voice, video, mobile TV, data transfer) doubled in a year and reached 11.4 million during the fourth quarter of 2008, the regulator said.