Fixed telephone service - 1st half 2020

Executive summary

91.2% of families have a fixed telephone service

In the first half of 2020 (1H2020), the penetration rates of the main telephone accesses reached 50 accesses per 100 inhabitants. The penetration rate for accesses installed at residential customer request stood at 91.2 per 100 private households.

Number of customers increased by 2.3%

In the first half of 2020, the number of direct access fixed telephone service customers was around 4.2 million, 94 thousand (+2.3%) more than in the first half of 2019. This growth is consistent with the estimated historical trend and is linked to the growing popularity of bundled offers that 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, 124 thousand more accesses year-on-year. The growth recorded (+2.5%) was mainly due to the increase in VoIP/VoB accesses (+330 thousand accesses), which includes accesses supported by fibre optic and cable TV networks.

In the first half of 2020, accesses supported on alternative networks to the traditional network (analogue and ISDN accesses) accounted for 78.4% of the main telephone accesses.

Traffic generated in the fixed network increased for the first time since 2012 due to the impact of COVID-19

The volume of minutes generated in the fixed network increased by 9.3% year-on-year (-16.1% in the first half of 2019). This is the first such increase since the first half of 2012.

This exceptional increase stemmed from a significant change in the normal service use patterns due to COVID-19. For example, in the week in which 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 national fixed-fixed (+9.3%), and fixed-mobile traffic (+18.2%). It should also be noted that the drop in international traffic (-6.4%) was the gentlest since the first half of 2015 and that the decrease in national traffic generated from public pay phones (-40.4%) was the greatest on record. VoIP nomadic traffic (+29.8%) saw the greatest increase since the first half of 2017.

For the aforementioned reason, the average duration of calls generated in the fixed network increased by around 41 seconds year-on-year (+20.2%). The average duration of fixed-fixed domestic calls increased by 58 seconds (+23.6%).

Shares per provider

At the end of the first half of 2020, MEO had a share of 42.1% of direct access customers, the NOS Group had 35.8%, Vodafone had 18.4% and the NOWO/Onitelecom Group had 3.4%. The shares of direct access customers of MEO, NOS and NOWO/Onitelecom declined by 0.2, 0.4 and 0.4 p.p., respectively, with Vodafone's share having increased by 0.9 p.p1.

The concentration level regarding 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.