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DATA-DRIVEN REGULATION

Arcep maps out the status quo with monreseaumobile.fr 

Paris, 22 March 2017

Today Arcep is publishing new, experimental mobile coverage maps in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It will also be incorporating these maps into a new application: monreseaumobile.fr.

New, more detailed maps with four levels of mobile coverage assessment

Following a decision from Arcep, starting this summer mobile operators will be required to publish coverage maps that distinguish those areas with very good coverage, good coverage, limited coverage and no coverage for mobile calling and SMS services. These more detailed coverage maps will make it possible to reflect the reality of the user experience more accurately.

With these new maps, Arcep hopes to spur operators to further improve their mobile coverage. The aim is to use of heavy dose of transparency to re-orientate the basis of competition between operators, so that it not be focused solely on prices but also on network performance. These enhanced coverage maps are also a starting point: by identifying those areas where coverage is limited a clear diagnosis is delivered, and so opening the way for discussions over future coverage needs.

Today Arcep launches a pilot project in Nouvelle Aquitaine to test the system

Starting today, these new, more detailed maps will be subject to a full-scale trial in a pilot region: Nouvelle Aquitaine. Arcep is in fact publishing the test maps supplied by operators. Arcep will verify the accuracy of these new maps by ordering a measurement campaign in the field, to then calibrate the verification protocol in the second quarter of the year.

After September 2017, the publication of these improved maps will be expanded to the whole of Metropolitan France.

Maps available through a new tool

Today Arcep is also launching monreseaumobile.fr, a mapping tool for displaying these new maps. The purpose of the tool its to provide users with customised information, to allow them to compare operators. Monreseaumobile.fr assembles two types of complementary information:

- First, operators' coverage maps. Produced using digital simulations, these maps provide information on the entire country, but deliver a necessarily simplified and so still imperfect reflection of reality;

- Second, quality of service measurements taken under real-life conditions. These data provide a perfect representation of reality in the field but, by their very nature, do not make it possible to obtain an exhaustively detailed snapshot of the situation across the country.

The intention is for the data-driven approach to regulation to create a virtuous circle: users' informed choices will encourage operators to invest in increasing their coverage; those operators that go the furthest will be rewarded by consumers, which in turn will enable them to earn a return on their investments.

Maps as open data

Thanks to the Digital Republic Act of 2016, which introduced specific provisions regarding the publication of these maps as open data files, Arcep is also making these maps available as open data.

Making these data available to the public will thus allow everyone to use them, to test their accuracy and to create new comparison engines for mobile operators' coverage. Arcep thus invites interested organisations and enterprises to make use of the new data, which at this stage are available only for the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, to develop applications which could, come autumn, be incorporated into these new maps for the whole of France.

This new system is based on the new responsibilities assigned to Arcep in 2015 and 2016

Two successive laws increased Arcep's powers and responsibilities, and enabled the creation of this new system. The "Growth and Business" Act of August 2015 and the Digital Republic Act of October 2016 gave Arcep the ability, respectively, to define more detailed coverage maps and to publish them as open data. Arcep took on these new responsibilities back in 2015, performed the work required to meet them and, in December 2016, adopted a decision that aims to give mobile phone users the means to determine more clearly, for every operator, those locations with good quality coverage and those where coverage is lacking.



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