Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/15/2012 -- The Q312 update to BMI's France Telecommunications Report is the first to include subscriber data and analysis for Free Mobile, which became the fourth mobile network operator in January 2012. The report includes data analysis of the four key telecoms markets - mobile, fixed-line, broadband and pay-TV - based on data disclosed by the principal operators, as well as the national regulatory authority, ARCEP. The report also contains analysis of industry trends and developments and regulatory proceedings, such as mobile termination rate cuts, 4G spectrum licensing and fibre roll-out. Using these data and analysis of network operator strategy, we have adjusted our five-year forecasts for these markets as appropriate.
The launch of Free Mobile with aggressive pricing to win market share in Q112 has had considerable impact on the market. Free reported a subscriber base of 2.6mn at the end of March 2012, driving market growth of 907,000 net additions in Q112, up considerably from the levels in Q110 and Q111. Its low price offers have caused considerable disruption to existing mobile network operators Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom, as well as the MVNO segment, all of which reported subscriber losses in Q112.
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Free's launch, along with cuts to mobile termination rates in January 2012, caused a revenue squeeze that has seen mobile ARPUs decline. With further mobile termination rate cuts scheduled for July 2012 and January 2013, and Free expected to persist as a low-price disruptive force in the market in the short-tomedium term, BMI has made a downward revision to the French ARPU forecast. However, the majority of the impact of regulatory measures and Free's launch had already been factored into our forecast. Further, we expect the impact of Free to lessen in the medium term as it moves towards more sustainable pricing strategy once market share objectives are achieved.
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