In 2009, the French fixed market showed a slight growth in subscribers, with broadband representing the highest service growth within this market, and a 1.0% fall in revenues. The mobile market continues to see steady subscriber growth since 2007, with the revenue generated by calls giving way to data revenues, which now account for 20% of mobile market revenues.
France continues to have impressive broadband coverage, and the French regulator (ARCEP) has continued its work on setting the basis for the next-generation access (NGA) deployment initiated in 2008, imposing on France Telecom the obligation to provide access to its civil infrastructures. More work related to NGA deployment (this time focused on less populated areas) is to follow in 2010, as well as an investigation into net neutrality.
France is the only country within the EU to regulate SMS termination. The introduction of this regulation, effective since 2006, resulted in strong SMS usage growth. Given this positive result, during 2009 ARCEP decided to maintain SMS regulation in France and also expand it to its overseas territories.
In addition, the award process for the fourth mobile licence, a pending issue since 2007, has finally been initiated and mobile operators were called to reach an agreement on a 3G network sharing framework by the end of 2009. A consultation on the 800MHz (digital dividend) award process was launched at the beginning of the year and a final decision is due to take place by the end of 2009.