This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 7/18/2018

Overview

 2015
(Estimated)
2016
(Estimated)
2017
(Estimated)
2018
(Estimated)
Total Local Production66,27066,75267,42072,139
Total Exports32,23032,40732,73135,022
Total Imports44,58045,07845,52945,716
Imports from the US9,1209,1269,2179,862
Total Market Size78,62079,42380,21785,832
Exchange Rate 1 EuroUSD 1.1095USD 1.1069USD 1.1297USD 1.320
(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)
(Figures in USD millions; * indicates unofficial estimates.
Year to year figures adjusted for varying exchange rate.)
Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)
 
The Market place for Telecommunications

The most prominent industries in the French telecommunications market are mobile telephone and broadband industries. Both the mobile and broadband sectors are made up of large, competitive, and innovative firms with developed product offerings. The French mobile market is one of the top performing in Western Europe. According to telecom operators, there were approximately 75.5 million mobile subscriptions in France in 2017. The number of users of 4G networks grew in one year by nearly 10 million to 31.9 million by 31 December 2016. At the end of 2016, nearly three out of four SIM cards have been active on 3G networks. According to Free Mobile, 60% of their subscribers are using 4G. As of 2016, the broadband subscription market reached 36.8 million subscriptions.
In early 2018, the French mobile phone market recorded its strongest trimester of growth since the end of 2014. This growth was driven mainly by a sharp rise in postpaid subscriptions.
France has one of the largest broadband subscriber bases in Europe. Growth in recent years has been bolstered by demand for high bandwidth services which has prompted considerable investment in fiber infrastructure among telecoms and regional governments.
DSL remains the prominent form of broadband connection in France though it is currently declining as other faster connections (i.e. fiber optic cable) become increasingly popular. During 2015, DSL subscriptions decreased by -1.9% while ultra-fast broadband connections (coaxial and FTTx) increased by 43.8% between 2014 and 2015. The largest growth rates were experienced by Fiber to the home (FTTH) connections which increased by 52.6% between 2014 and 2015.
Four French providers make up the French mobile market: Orange with a 36.99% market share, Numerique-SFR (rebranding as Altice in mid-2018) with a 31.34% market share, Bouygues with a 16.24% market share, Iliad (Free) with a 15.66% market share.
Mobile Virtual Network Operators are progressing. As of March 31, 2017, MVNOs accounted for 11% of the market share.
To promote business and innovation, France launched “Plan France Tres Haut Debit” in 2013. This plan invests $23.59 billion dollars over 10 years to cover the entirety of France’s territory in high speed internet by 2020. The objective of this plan is to install internet connections of at least 8Mbps to all of France by mid-2020 and 30 Mbps by 2022.  This requires building new telecommunications (fiber optic) infrastructure nationwide. Very high-capacity networks like 5G will be a key asset for Europe to compete in the Global market, with worldwide 5G revenues for mobile operators expected to reach €225 billion annually by 2025. The 5G Action Plan is an EU strategic initiative which concerns all stakeholders, private and public, small and large, in all Member States, to meet the challenge of making 5G a reality for all citizens and businesses by the end of this decade.
France is lagging behind other countries in establishing and implementing 5G networks. However, in February 2018, Orange announced 5G trials will be carried out in Lille and Douai between mid-2018 and mid-2019. These trials will prepare Orange for 5G arrival by 2020. If France is comparatively late in the adoption of 5G, the development of connected objects, such as autonomous cars, etc., may be affected. 
The sector’s revenue is driven by eight several main factors: fixed line telephone subscriptions, unbundling and bitstream operations, business spending on ICT, investments by electronic communication operators, high value-added “all-in-one” offers, and service prices.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects  
                                                      

Mobile and broadband services will remain a vibrant market in France. Significant investment opportunities exist for leading and innovative firms in the French market. Such opportunities exist in the continued implementation of various standards and technologies, such as LTE and Fiber optic cabling. Smart Phone technology and increasing network capabilities with increased 3G and 4G implementation will drive continued growth in the market. IOT’s implementation marks a massive increase in interconnected and communicating devices, subsequently this will drive a huge demand for increased broadband capabilities to keep up with IOT’s usage.

Opportunities 
                                                                         

Orange and SFR’s release of LTE services has allowed for the possibility of offering higher value wireless data services. In November 2015, France held an auction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) suitable frequencies and raised $2.89 billion from the sale of six blocks. Orange and Free Mobile both purchased two blocks while the remaining two blocks were split between Bouygues Telecom and SFR. 
The IOT market in France is attracting attention and investment. Large scale investments, such as a 115 million USD investment in French IOT startup Sigfox, are becoming increasingly common. The IOT continues to thrive through the growth of machine to machine (M2M) sim card subscriptions, the primary means of communication between objects in the IOT. In France, M2M has experienced an annual growth of +1.2 million M2M SIM card subscriptions compared to 31 December 2015. There are currently over 11.7 million M2M SIMs in France. More importantly, major players in the French telecom market are shifting their focus over to IOT. For example, Orange formed a new IT division with the specific focus on machine to machine technology.  US companies looking to invest in the French telecommunications market should find ample opportunity in this constantly evolving economy.

Web resources       
                                                                          

Regulation Authority for Electronic and Postal Communication (ARCEP) www.arcep.fr
French National Frequency Agency (ANF) www.anfr.fr
Association of Internet Access and Service Providers (AFA) www.afa-france.com
European Telecommunications standards Institute (ETSI) www.etsi.org
Fédération Française des Télécoms www.fftelecoms.org
French Association of Mobile Operators (AFOM) www.afom.fr
Europe Market Analysis and Consulting Firms in the Telecom, Internet and Media Industries (IDATE) www.idate.org
 
Contact:
U.S. Embassy - U.S. Commercial Service Commercial Specialist:
Myrline.Mikal-Goide@trade.gov
Phone: +33 (0)1 43 12 70 90 ;  Website: http://export.gov/france/

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



France Information and Communication Technology Trade Development and Promotion