France's mobile communications market grew by 0.7 per cent year-on-year to 71.8 million SIM cards in the first quarter of 2016, compared to 71.3 million in the corresponding period of the previous year.
According to the latest report from French telecoms regulator Arcep, this marked the continuation of a moderate improvement in annual growth rates over the last few quarters, although it was still below the 1.5 per cent annual growth rate recorded in the first quarter of 2015.
On a quarterly basis, the number of active SIM cards was almost 0.3 per cent lower, from just over 72 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The mobile penetration rate now stands at 108.1 per cent of the population of just over 66.4 million.
The total number of SIM cards in active use increased by 1.6 per cent on an annual basis to reach 69.5 million by the end of March 2016, accounting for 96.9 per cent of the total.
The post-paid market continued to support the market's overall growth, increasing 4.9 per cent on an annual basis to 59.9 million SIM cards. Prepaid, on the other hand, declined further by 13.3 per cent year-on-year to 11.9 million cards.
The number of machine-to-machine (M2M) cards reached 11.3 million as of Mar. 31, an increase of 760,000 cards over the quarter. Annual growth exceeded 2 million for the third consecutive quarter.
Mobile network operators also dominated the market with 61.9 million cards in total by the end of the first quarter; MVNOs accounted for 7.3 million. However, while MNOs saw the number of SIM cards increase by 0.8 per cent annually, MVNOs achieved slightly higher growth of 1.2 per cent and accounted for 10.5 per cent of the market.
The residential market recorded a 0.7 per cent increase to 61.2 million SIM cards year-on-year, while the enterprise market saw a higher increase of 2.1 per cent to 7.96 million SIM cards in the first quarter of 2016.
- see this Arcep report
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