Mobile network operators in France - statistics & facts

A mobile network operator is a telecommunications company that offers mobile telephony and mobile internet access services. Customers are provided SIM cards which can be inserted into mobile phones or tablets to access the operator’s cellular network. Mobile operators are divided between two categories: traditional operators who own their own mobile networks (such as Orange, SFR, Free mobile and Bouygues Telecom) and virtual operators. As of 2020, the four major French mobile operators offer comparable and almost total 4G coverage. More than 95 percent of the French population was covered by mobile broadband no matter which operator they chose.

The Orange Group has taken the lion's share over the years. As the leading mobile operator in terms of both population and territory coverage, the company recorded a turnover of more than 18 billion euros in 2018, of these 2.35 billion euros for its telephony services only. Orange has just over 20 million customers in France, a trend that is decreasing slightly after peaking in 2016. Far from focusing solely on telephony, Orange also sells different types of content (music, movies, etc.) and activities related to e-commerce, online advertising, home automation and remote support solutions.

SFR (Société française du radiotelephone) is France's second largest telecommunications operator in terms of market share. After its takeover by Vivendi in 2011, then by the Altice group in 2014, the mobile network was officially renamed "Altice France" in 2017. In 2019, Altice France recorded sales of more than 11 billion euros. Its net income rose again in the same year to almost 3 billion euros after having been negative in previous years.

Bouygues Telecom is the telephony subsidiary of the French industrial group Bouygues and is historically the third of the four mobile operators in France. Its number of mobile subscribers has gradually increased in recent years and passed the 17 million subscriber mark in the second quarter of 2019. This subsidiary is one of the pillars of the Bouygues Group and has a turnover of more than six billion euros in 2019.

Free Mobile is the newcomer on the French telephony market and its arrival has not gone unnoticed. Offering packages at unbeatable rates and with no time commitment, the Iliad group subsidiary quickly won over the hearts of French customers. Its revenues have been growing steadily since its launch in 2012, as has the number of subscribers.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 30 most important statistics relating to "Mobile network operators in France".


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