More than 10 per cent, or one in eight, of French mobile connections will be LTE within the next five years, according to a Wireless Intelligence study.
French operators are competing to be the first to deploy the technology starting this summer. All four operators successfully acquired suitable LTE frequencies in a spectrum auction that raised €3.5 billion for the government.
According to Wireless Intelligence, the two largest operators Orange and SFR, with a 44 per cent and 35 per cent respective share of the market, are expected to dominate the LTE market, accounting for a combined 80 per cent by 2017.
Orange has committed to roll out LTE in all of its EU markets by 2015 and has selected Marseille as its LTE trial location beginning in June. SFR--having already tested the technology last year--is now planning a commercial deployment in Lyon and Montpellier starting 2013.
Bouygues Telecom, the country's third largest operator, will pilot its LTE network in Lyon this June, and anticipates installing 5,000 base stations during 2012 and launching commercial services early next year.
Wireless Intelligence expects all three operators to provide LTE services in all major French cities by the end of 2013.
Joss Gillet, senior analyst with Wireless Intelligence, said that the arrival of LTE in France is good news, but he's concerned about incumbents in a market where competitive pressures have recently spiked due to the launch of Free Mobile at the beginning of the year.
Gillet noted that Orange had reported a 5 per cent decline in revenues, higher costs due to labour expenses, declining EBIT (-6 per cent) and a reduction in network investment in the mobile segment (-11 per cent).
- see this Wireless Intelligence release
Bouygues Telecom, France Telecom to launch trial LTE networks in June
France Telecom to deploy LTE across Europe by 2015
French operators bid for 800MHz spectrum, as government seeks €1.8B from auction
Report: Free Mobile files complaint over French LTE auction rules