Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/20/2012 -- BMI View: Operators in France's mobile market face considerable changes in 2012 as new operator Free launched services and termination rates were cut yet again. However, the market still has room for growth with prepaid services likely to drive demand. Broadband and pay-TV will remain the drivers of wireline service revenues, though the number of physical accesses is declining. The market will move towards higher capacity technologies in both fixed and mobile, catalysed by operator investment.
- Mobile growth was boosted in H112 by the launch of Free Mobile, which had amassed 3.6mn subscribers by June 2012. This more than offset the negative growth reported by existing operators Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom. Newly restated regulatory data regarding the MVNOs' expansion also cast a more favourable light on the market's growth potential.
- Local loop unbundling by alternative operators continues apace, keeping the broadband market buoyant, though France Telecom notes a slowdown in wireline broadband adoption as more consumers turn to alternative forms of broadband access.
- ARPU dropped sharply following Free's entry into the market and lower termination rates took effect. The fall was within expectations and we have not adjusted our ARPU forecasts.
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Key Trends & Developments
Free Mobile launched in Q212, having a considerable impact on the market. Free had amassed 3.6mn subscribers by June 2012. Its low-price offers have caused considerable disruption to existing mobile network operators as well as MVNOs.
Mobile broadband has grown rapidly, though we expect rates to slow in the absence of the roll-out of LTE services capable of offering speeds that rival fixed-line connections, thus opening up the mobile market to more demanding broadband customers who would not otherwise switch.
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