Report Overview

Telecoms and pay TV – Opportunities beyond lockdown

In spite of considerable growth and shifts in traffic, mobile and fixed networks across Europe have coped admirably during the first few months of this crisis with speeds of both back to pre-lockdown levels. The financial impact of COVID-19 on mobile operators has been very mixed depending on their relative exposure to various factors, notably mobile roaming, the business market (where bad debts are likely to be greatest), and whether they gain market share (or at least lose it less quickly) as the ability of subscribers to spin-down to cheaper tariffs was dampened by the closure of mobile shops during lockdown. H3G is the only mobile operator to have pointed to a positive financial impact of COVID-19 while those integrated operators exposed to sports rights (BT and Telefonica) and Vodafone have pointed to a negative impact on their outlook.  


Executive Summary

Networks resilient, customer service less so

Mobile impacts very mixed and broadly neutral

Fixed sector dragged by sports rights

Financial guidance mixed, but tending to the negative

COVID-19 creates longer term challenges

Enduring impacts of the pandemic

List of charts/tables

Figure 1: Anecdotal evidence of changes in data traffic

Figure 2: Europe average mobile network speeds (Mbps)

Figure 3: Europe average fixed network speeds (Mbps)

Figure 4: Peak complaints per 15 minutes by fixed operator

Figure 5: Pay TV subscriber growth

Figure 6: Pay TV net additions (000)

Figure 7: TalkTalk gross adds and churn during the lockdown

Figure 8: Broadband entry level pricing, new customers (£/month)

Figure 9: Broadband high speed pricing, new customers (£/month)

Figure 10: Openreach FTTP pricing for selected speed tiers (£/month)

Figure 11: COVID-19 related financial guidance changes (or lack thereof)

Figure 12: COVID-19 related financial guidance changes

Figure 13: Europe ‘top 5’ GDP vs mobile service revenue growth

Figure 14: Workers’ status and working location during lockdown (%)

Figure 15: Workers wanting to work remotely post COVID-19

Figure 16: Smartphone-only household penetration (%)