90.4% of families have a fixed telephone service
In the 1st quarter of 2020, the penetration rates of the main telephone accesses reached 49.7 accesses per 100 inhabitants. The penetration rate for accesses installed at residential customer request stood at 90.4 per 100 private households.
Number of customers increased by 2.1%
In the 1st quarter of 2020, the number of direct access fixed telephone service customers was around 4.1 million, 85 thousand (+2.1%) more than in the 1st quarter of 2019. This growth is consistent with the estimated historical trend and is linked to the growing popularity of bundled offers which include fixed telephone.
Next generation networks responsible for the growth in the number of accesses
The stock of main telephone accesses reached almost 5.1 million accesses, 64 thousand more accesses year-on-year. The growth recorded (+1.3%) was mainly due to the increase in VoIP/VoB accesses (+334 thousand accesses), which includes accesses supported by fibre optic and cable TV networks.
In the 1st quarter of 2020, accesses supported on alternative networks to the traditional network (analogue and ISDN accesses) accounted for 77.5% of the main telephone accesses.
Traffic generated in the fixed network and average call duration increased for the first time since 2013 due to the impact of COVID-19
The volume of minutes generated in the fixed network increased by 1.5% year-on-year (-15.9% in the 1st quarter of 2019). This is the first such increase since the 1st quarter of 2013.
This exceptional increase in traffic is linked to COVID-19, which caused a significant change in the normal service use patterns. For example, in the week when the state of emergency was declared (16 to 22 March), fixed voice traffic grew 61% compared to the week prior to the declaration of the pandemic (2 to 8 March).
By type of call, this growth was mainly due to the growth of nomadic VoIP traffic (+43.3%), which recorded its largest increase since the 3rd quarter of 2017, and national traffic (+1%), which had not grown since 2013. It should also be noted that the drop in international traffic (7.8%) was the gentlest since the 2nd quarter of 2015 and that the decrease in national traffic generated from public pay phones (-32.2%) was the greatest since the 4th quarter of 2018.
For the aforementioned reason, the average duration of calls generated in the fixed network increased by around 17 seconds year-on-year (+8.3%). The average duration of fixed-fixed domestic calls increased by 27 seconds (+10.8%) while the duration of national calls generated from public pay phones decreased by 11 seconds (-20.6%).
Shares per provider
At the end of this period, MEO had a share of 42.1% of direct access customers, the NOS Group had 35.9%, Vodafone had 18.3% and the NOWO/Onitelecom Group had 3.4%. The shares of direct access customers of MEO, NOS and NOWO/Onitelecom declined by 0.3, 0.5 and 0.3 percentage points, respectively, with Vodafone's share having increased by 1.0 percentage points1.
The concentration level in terms of traffic, measured by the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, although high, fell slightly year-on-year.
1 The variations presented do not add up to zero due to rounding.