The health crisis has slowed down the MtoM market in France

While operators are praising the rise of 5G networks, the 2020 annual Arcep report dedicated to the business market tends first and foremost to show that companies have significantly increased their use of 4G packages in 2020.

A boom in professional mobile plans in 2020

The number of enterprise mobile plans increased by 540,000 in 2020 (compared to 350,000 in previous years), which is 6% growth in one year, compared to 2% for the consumer plans market. Thus, the number of active professional mobile phone lines reached 10 million in 2020. Due to the Corona virus, the monthly consumption of the phone increased from 3:7 am to 4:10 am. in one year. Similarly, traffic from fixed and mobile networks reached 38.4 billion minutes in 2020, an increase of 10% in one year, while Arcep has noticed a significant decrease since 2011. PSTN traffic has decreased in business (-11 minutes in 1 year), while increased by 30 min in individuals.

On the contrary, SMS and MMS are not popular with professionals: Arcep notes an annual decrease of 15% in the number of messages. In addition, the amount of data consumed per month increased from 3.3 GB to 4.2 GB (+ 28%), which is more than half of the consumption of individual subscribers (9.7 GB).

At the same time, “companies have extensively equipped themselves with SIM cards that only allow them to access the Internet,” Arcep notes. The authority counts more than 100,000 cards in one year in 2020, double the increase observed in 2019. In total, 1.4 million such internet SIM cards were activated in 2020.

Marked slowdown in the MtoM market during the health crisis

However, companies are spending less and less on telecom services. In 2020, telcos revenue collected from companies decreased by 3.8% compared to 2019. The notable decline reached 3.1% in 2019, and 2.5% in 2018. It decreased by 6.6% (compared to 2.2% in 2019) to Just over 2.1 billion euros. It should be noted that the majority (78%) of BtoB mobile plans are compatible with subscribing to professional offers, which are less expensive and less talented than business offers. About 71% of corporate expenditures are related to fixed services (telephone communications, ADSL and fiber optics).

If the growth of mobile phones is noticeable in business during the health crisis, this is not the case for MtoM solutions in France. The number of SIM cards dedicated to connected things reached 22.5 million as of December 31, 2020, according to Arcep. That number was 21 million in 2019.

If the number of MtoM cards increased by 7.1% between 2019 and 2020, the network policeman notes a decrease in the net annual increase: 1.5 million new MtoM cards were activated in 2020, compared to 2.7 million in 2019 and 3.4 million in 2018. Oversized” to the health crisis. It’s no surprise here, but we shouldn’t herald the end of MtoM either: between 2016 and 2020, the number of active cards nearly doubled in four years (11.8 million active chips in 2016 and 22.5 million in 2020).

Mobile (MtoM) services revenue rose 7.9% (142 million euros in 2020, compared to 132 million in 2019), but the average monthly bill per card rose by 0.6 euros – a stable measure in 2018 and 2019 – at 0.5 euros.

This consolidated data arrives late. Meanwhile, Arcep published information regarding the second quarter of 2021 at the beginning of October.

It appears that the decline in the net increase in the number of MtoM cards observed in 2020 will continue into 2021. 5% in one year after +7.8% in the second quarter of 2020, the authority’s analysts wrote. In the second quarter of 2021, the average monthly income remained stable at 0.5 euros per card.

In a report dedicated to the overseas mobile market published on November 9, 2021, Arcep indicates that the number of active MtoM cards from French operators reached 23.2 million as of September 30. Since March 2021, the net annual increase is about 1.2 million MtoM cards.

The “competition” of pure IoT networks

MtoM networks, mainly used in the context of IoT projects, compete with LPWAN networks, such as Sigfox and LoRaWAN. There, you have to rely on the information the operators share. For its part, Sigfox reports that the number of daily messages passing through its network increased from 63 million to 76.5 million between 2020 and 2021, and that’s from 19.1 million connected items. This data is of interest to the whole world.

Objenious, a subsidiary of Bouygues Telecom, prefers to mention the number of municipalities covered by the LoRa network (over 30,000) and their multi-network strategy. Thus, the carrier covers “more than 1,000 municipalities” with NB-IoT technology based on 5G SA and is also developing its own LTE-M network. These two technologies are based on MtoM cards. Objenious estimates that 50% of new connections by 2024 will be from NB-IoT and LTE-M networks.

Orange Business Service announced that it manages 21.1 million connected items, without specifying the distribution of communication between MtoM and LPWAN networks and whether this device is located only in France. Its Lora network covers 95% of the population of France, as is the Bouygues Telecom network. SFR Business does not communicate in detail about the uses of its LTE-M and NB-IoT networks.

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