Data mobile consumption in France.
The new ARCEP report for year 2012 has just been published
The French regulatory authority ARCEP has just published its thick year 2012 report on the French telecommunications market. This report encompasses all aspects of the market, fixed and wireline. I would like to focus on the mobile market and look at the data consumption growth through the mobile market
Data enabled SIMs
Data enabled SIMs are defined as 1- all data enabled 3G SIMS- the majority of the consumers SIMs, about 33M at the end 2012, 2-the internet only SIMS, about 3.4M at the end 2012 and 3-the M2M SIMs, about 4.7M at the end of 2012. In average in 2012 in France the number of data enabled SIM amounted to 37.7M.
Mobile data growth
The consumption of mobile data has grown a lot in 2012 (+67% /2011), as you would expect. However, based on the increase of data enabled SIMs, the average monthly consumption of data per SIM in 2012 reached 0.216 Gigabytes, compared to 0.155 Gigabytes a year earlier (or a 38% yearly increase).
Real consumption and fair use
With the entry of Free Mobile in the French mobile market, the standard fair use for most of the subscriptions including data was up to 3 Gigabytes per month: beyond this consumption, the throughput is usually limited. However, the real consumption is indeed still quite lower than those fair uses, just a small fraction, and the yearly growth of 38%, although nice, does not appear as a real explosion as one would expect, even though the 3G developments (HSPDA, HSPA) have increasingly allowed better throughputs.
The reasons of such modest consumption yet
If you use a smartphone, for comfort you probably use WIFI connections at home or at work. This is particularly true for video streaming, which consumes quite a lot of data. And your IPAD is usually using only WIFI. 3G latency , low throughput and break of communication do not allow the comfortable use of video services.
Mobile operators communicate on the fact that better speeds for 4G should translate into a monthly subscription increase in the range of 5€. As I explained in my earlier post, I doubt that reducing the benefits of 4G to a speed increase is the right way to develop this technology: 4G provides the possibility to change paradigm in the telecommunication industry and introduce added value services for customers with a long term relationship. Agile actors able to seize the opportunities provided by this technology will be able to market successfully the added value they developed and create huge data flows allowed by this technology. The question then is whether those successful actors will be the traditional telecom actors- who do not seem to know how to create appealing services generating traffic, or newcomers with strong marketing skills.
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