The eco brief. Telecom operators are resisting the crisis well


The installation of a 4G and 5G telephony antenna in Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine). Illustrative photo.
Installation of a 4G and 5G telephony antenna in Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine). Illustrative photo. (VINCENT MICHEL / MAXPPP)

The crisis had a double-edged effect: aWith lockdowns, mobile stores closed, resulting in lower sales cell phones. And the price war between telephone operators has calmed down a bit. This year, operators have had a little more trouble recruiting new subscribers. But, what mainly boosted activity was the rush for fiber. Pfor teleworking but also for domestic use: for video aperitifs, individuals wanted better speed.

And Orange has benefited well: its fiber customers grew by 35% last year. And its net profit jumped almost 57%. The same goes for Bouygues. Rather behind in the fiber market, the operator won over 600,000 new customers last year.

The works stopped during the first confinement, but there was real catching up the rest of the year. Orange, for example, succeeded in making 6.5 million additional households connectable to fiber last year, particularly in rural areas. And these infrastructures, these pylons on which the antennas are installed, are investments for the future, which Orange also intends to make profitable, by leasing them to others in particular.

In France, the green light for 5G has been officially given at the end of last year and more than 11,000 sites are “technically operational “ according to the National Frequency Agency (ANFR). More than 1,500 cities are already benefiting from the new generation of mobile telephony. Despite the reluctance of some metropolises – such as Rennes or Nantes – operators are working hard to deploy their network.

5G should make it possible to offer better speed to individuals, but it is above all a windfall for businesses. A windfall that operators intend to exploit. According to a study by Ericsson, in France, this technology could capture 3.5 million subscribers this year.


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