Direct access to content
Tuesday, February 1st
With a young population approaching 12 million and a well-developed digital culture, the Paris Region is better connected than any other in the country: cell phone penetration here is 132%, and many of the region's population have more than one contract.
The coverage is total and provided by France's three major global operators: Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom.
Naturally, the dense urban fabric and the presence of these major service providers have encouraged the arrival of other key telecoms players, whether global manufacturers, like Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, Nokia Siemens, Sagem Wireless and Samsung, or MVNOs, like Virgin and Free... all industry heavyweights.
And this is a growing ecosystem, because a large number of R&D centers have recently been established here as a result of inward investment by companies such as LG Electronics, Microsoft, Huawei and Google. In total, the Paris Region is home to no fewer than 400,000 ICT industry jobs - the highest concentration in Europe - to say nothing of 18,000 researchers and technicians, more than 10 graduate schools and universities training 20,000 students per year in these technologies and 2 global competitiveness clusters: System@tic Paris Region and Cap Digital Paris Region.
It's hardly any coincidence then that this region is a possible host for the Mobile World Congress, the largest global event in the industry. No coincidence either that of the 30 potential host cities, Paris remains in the final 6 at the time this article goes to press. So, will Paris soon be the anointed capital of the mobile world?
Keeping in touch on the move.
The city's public transit authority - the RATP - is offering two new apps: RATP Lite, which is free and provides users with subway and bus route maps, and RATP Premium (€1), which calculates journey fares and timetables in real time, as well as delivering up-to-date traffic information. All bus and tramway stations now display a flashcode that passengers can photograph for immediate redirection to a webpage that shows what time the next bus or train will arrive. Moreover, the Navigo pass - the annual season ticket card for all public transit services in the Paris Region - also allows cardholders to take bikes from Velib' free bike collection and delivery points: so 1 card + 1 chip + 2 uses = more mobility.
The WiFi oases of Paris
There are more than 400 WiFi access points dotted around Paris where you can log on free of charge to high-speed wireless Internet in the city's parks and gardens, district town halls, museums and all the libraries of the City of Paris. Paris WiFi is freely accessible to all whenever these locations are open to the public. The Paris city website at www.paris.fr offers an interactive map showing all the free WiFi locations around the capital.
French key figures:
There are 62 million French people and 61.5 million contracts covering 56.6 million cell phone customers: that's a penetration rate of 92% .
In France, mobile services generate annual revenue of €4.9 billion in a market driven by young people, smartphones and the extraordinary availability of the Internet: 15 years ago, 2% of French people had Internet connections; today, that figure is 74% (40 million people), rising to 99% in the 12-17 age group, within which individuals send an average of 26 texts every day.
Between now and this summer, the country will be allocating its 4G licenses. 4G will deliver much higher bandwidth for mobile communications, thereby encouraging the development of mobile TV, videophone applications and video downloading by cell phones.
Frédérique de Bast - Chief Marketing Officer
at MWC the 15th and 16th February : +33 (0)66 25 69 21 91
update February 1, 2011