From mid-March until mid-May 2020, and again in the Autumn of 2020, consumers in France were subject to strict national lockdown measures. This meant that French consumers were confined to their homes – either alone or with their families – for long periods of time, with the widespread shift to work from home arrangements taking effect in March 2020.
The number of internet users in France increased considerably in 2020 due, in part, to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the greater demand for connectivity during this time. The use of mobile phones to access the internet also recorded a substantial increase in 2020, as the larger phone screens are prompting consumers to abandon their tablets in favour of their mobile phones.
Despite a rather slow start compared to other Northern European countries, France is to expect nationwide 5G coverage by 2030. The first results of the deployment of 5G in France will, however, be seen as early as 2023-2024, which will be a strong asset for the growth of e-commerce and other industries in France.
In terms of voice communication and text messaging, Orange, SFR, Bouygues and Free cover at least 99% of the population between them. Looking more closely at geographic coverage and considering areas without a network, deemed as “white areas”, Bouygues Telecom is slightly behind with 93% coverage, compared to 97% for Free and SFR and 98% for Orange.
At the end of the review period, the Chinese tech giant Huawei faced difficulties on a global scale after the US government accused the company of spying, stealing trade secrets and violating trade sanctions. This led to a ban on the use of Huawei equipment in the US, with the US also calling on European countries to introduce similar bans.
Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) such as La Poste Mobile, Prixtel, and NRJ Mobile are small operators that do not have their own infrastructures. These operators use the infrastructures of the main Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs) Orange, SFR, Free and Bouygues Telecom for their mobile services.
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