top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Customers unhappy with mobile and fibre after fast roll-out in France

High-speed internet access has improved but customers are complaining about poor quality service and shoddy installation

French mobile operators

Le Monde uncovered that work installing fibre-optic cabling could be sub-contracted up to eight times Pic: sylv1rob1 / photofort 77 / Shutterstock

France’s all-out push to increase mobile phone and high-speed internet access has left many customers unhappy with the service once they get it. 

Record number of complaints

Some 17% of SFR customers have complained about phone or internet – 13% of Bouygues customers, 9% with Orange, and 8% with Free, says telecoms regulator Arcep.

Years of investment might have improved access but Arcep said the quality was lagging, judging by the number of complaints on its J’alerte l’Arcep app.

These hit 38,060 in 2021, up 14% on 2020, although the regulator said a survey by poll firm CSA had found a very slight improvement on the ratings customers gave the four main operators. 

SFR was lowest, with 7.2 out of 10; Bouygues 7.5; then Free and Orange on top, with 7.9. 

The previous year’s results varied between 7.1 and 7.7, with the firms in the same positions.

Read more: Snail-pace data, good deal: Which French mobile operator do you use?

Installation subcontracted up to eight times

Arcep said that while only 30% of users complained of mobile problems, 51% complained about fixed lines, especially fibre-optic lines, where 49% had technical problems – as against 27% for fraud and nuisance calls.

Hardest-hit were customers on Free and SFR, with complaints of not enough lines and broken fibre-optic cabling.

Journalists from Le Monde discovered that work installing fibre-optic cabling could be subcontracted up to eight times, with the final installer making very little and some even ‘stealing’ lines from other operators to complete jobs.

Before-and-after photos could raise quality of work

A follow-up on TF1 news found connection cabinets left by subcontractors with a ‘rats nest’ of jumbled cables and some residents opening cabinets themselves to reconnect, rather than waiting weeks for the operators to do the job.

Arcep is looking at making installers take before-and-after photos of cabinets to ensure good work.

Related articles

Tens of thousands of French homes lose internet as vandals cut cables

Can I use my French mobile in the UK without roaming fees?

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now