Arcep proposes a decision designed to improve mobile coverage maps, pursuant to the Digital Republic Act
Paris, 19 December 2016
Enhance coverage maps to more closely reflect users' experience, and
enable them to compare operators
Because of the strong expectations attached to the mobile coverage maps that
operators publish online, working in tandem with the Government, Arcep wanted
to bring changes to operators' obligations. These changes are made possible
by the Digital Republic Act, and by the Act on Growth, business and equal economic
To this end, Arcep published a draft decision for public consultation, which
ran from 28 July to 3 October 2016, which marked a first step towards enhancing
operators' coverage maps.
Having finalised the decision after taking into account the responses to the
consultation, on 6 December 2016 Arcep adopted Decision 2016-1678 whose dual
objective is to provide users with the means to better distinguish the locations
where there is high quality mobile coverage and those with lesser quality coverage,
and to publish these new enhanced maps from operators, which can be compared
directly, as open data files.
Arcep submitted this decision for approval to Axelle Lemaire, France's Minister
of State for Digital Affairs and Innovation, on 14 December 2016. Once approved,
operators will have six months to publish coverage maps on their websites
that will clearly distinguish areas with very good coverage, good coverage and
limited coverage for mobile calling and SMS services:
A pilot phase to fine tune the system
Because these are entirely new maps, as a transitional measure and to help
operators in implementing this new framework, operators will be given six weeks
from the decision's entry into force to submit their coverage maps to Arcep
in the new format for a single region, namely the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.
This will give Arcep an opportunity to verify their accuracy.
Reappropriating the maps for everyone
Thanks to the entry into force of the Digital Republic Act, which introduces
a specific provision on the publication of maps as open data files, Arcep will
make these maps available as open data. These maps will thus be published in
an open and easily reusable format, to allow anyone to make use of them, to
compare the coverage data they contain, and to develop innovative applications.
In the not too distant future, this will enable users to choose their operator
based not only on the price of their products, but also on their network coverage.
This "data-driven regulation" initiative thus also aims to stimulate
investments in the networks.