Fixed Line (Internet and Voice)

Filter by

Filter by

  • November 1, 2018

    Australian Telecommunications Market Outlook

    ,
    • The introduction and the rollout of the NBN has been one of the key inflection points in the Australian telco market. However, as the rollout progresses, complaints continue and the tug-of war with RSPs over CVC charges continues. This discord has led to both major and smaller RSPs experiencing a tight squeeze on margins and opportunities for bypass options
    • The Mobile segment continues its upward march but the market is about to see the impacts of a new wave of innovation (5G, IoT) and disruption (TPG Vodafone merger) in the next few years. This will severely impact fixed line broadband and nbn’s business case
    • The merger between TPG and Vodafone will create a strong third MNO in Australia and long term competition and pricing pressure with Optus and Telstra
    • Growth and broader acceptance in public cloud solutions is driving growth in the data markets as the corporate market is increasingly consolidating their voice, data and applications traffic
  • August 29, 2018

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q2 2018: Great volume, [...]

    ,
    The UK broadband subscription market re-accelerated in the June quarter, bucking a consistent downwards trend that has been established for over three years, with line rental and pay TV subscriptions also accelerating having both also experienced a more general downwards shift over the last few years. The broadband acceleration may be short-lived, with line rental only a little more sustainable. Pay TV is perhaps the most robust recovery given that the over-the-top new entrants (primarily Netflix and Amazon) are now firmly establishing themselves as add-ons not substitutes.Revenue growth however took a more familiar path, dipping to 1.6% from 2.8% in  the previous quarter, as BT’s overlapping price increase predictably dropped out, partially mitigated by an improvement in ARPU growth at TalkTalk caused by an improved (i.e. slightly less damaging) mix effect.  
  • August 20, 2018

    Sky UK 2017/18 full year results: Winning the game of content

    ,
    Sky maintained strong revenue growth of 5% in 2017/18, with EBITDA and operating profit both bouncing back into strong positive territory after the UK Premier League rights hit of 2016/17. The UK grew revenue well and profits better; Italy performed well and should improve much further given the retreat of its principal competitor; Germany is more challenged, but extra content investment may aid sustained growth. Sky is proving adept at managing content costs and revenue in a changing environment, with investment, cost control and monetisation all being put to effective use as the content type demands it.  
  • August 20, 2018

    Virgin Media Q2 2018 results: Measured approach in a tough market

    ,
    Virgin Media had a mixed quarter, with subscriber ARPU growth maintained, partly driven by a triple play focus with pay TV and telephony adds much improved, but subscriber and broadband net adds unchanged. Cable revenue growth did slow from 3.6% to 3.1%, mainly due to the previous quarter’s net adds slowdown working through, and it is still growing the fastest of the big operators in a slow-growth market that still suffers from pricing pressure at the low end. Its network roll-out was slower than last year and only just above the weather-impacted previous quarter, which appears to be deliberate, and which may at least partly relate to an uncertain regulatory and commercial climate over ‘full fibre’ roll-out by others.  
  • August 7, 2018

    BT Q1 2018/19 results: On target in the short term, making progre [...]

    ,
    BT’s Q1 results were fairly robust given a number of one-offs hitting in the quarter, with revenue growth of -2% in line with full year guidance, EBITDA growth of 1% ahead of plan, and a number of metrics looking promising. Openreach’s newly announced volume discount plans offer advantages in growing high and higher speed volumes, infrastructure competitiveness and regulatory pricing pressure, while giving up little in external revenue, a win-win-win for BT at least. Full-fibre regulation appears to be slowly moving towards more clarity, but is still far too unclear to justify an accelerated investment, with critical issues being ducked (for now) by government and Ofcom alike.  
  • August 2, 2018

    Revenues down, guidance in the balance: Vodafone Q1 2018/19 resul [...]

    ,
    EBITDA growth guidance of 1-5% is in question with group revenues flat to down. Counting AMAP growth in local currencies helps, as will cost control and roaming relief. Sustaining growth in Germany will be key; convergence-led ARPU declines could prove to be something Vodafone can’t afford. Vodafone’s UK business performed strongly in terms of mobile subscribers and fixed business financials, although revenue growth is still lacklustre. Profitability is expected to increase markedly, boosted 10ppts by roaming tariff relief. Although we view Iliad’s business model in Italy as unsustainable, it will nonetheless continue to put significant pressure on Vodafone Italy’s ARPU, which is almost three times that of Iliad’s package.  
  • July 26, 2018

    The drive for convergence: a value-destructive strategy

    ,
    Many European telecoms operators are pursuing a fixed/mobile convergence strategy on the pretext that the addition of mobile reduces churn. We see no evidence of churn reduction from this strategy. Discounts required to encourage take-up of fixed/mobile services are often value-destructive, even before competitor reaction: a 10% bundle discount necessitates a 2ppt improvement in churn to wash its face economically. M&A premia on the basis of convergence synergies raise the hurdle even higher. Most UK operators offer very limited discounts on fixed/mobile bundles for now, sensibly focusing on enhanced services. Vodafone is the most aggressive, albeit less so than it is elsewhere. All UK players should hope that it stays this way.
  • July 20, 2018

    Focus back on ARPU: TalkTalk Group Q1 2018/19 results

    ,
    TalkTalk had another strong quarter for broadband net adds, adding 80k versus its full year target of 150k+. All of this was due to strong wholesale, with retail net adds slightly negative, although in the market and seasonal context even this retail performance is quite respectable. On-net revenue growth improved strongly to around 4%, with its ARPU decline moderating to 2%, and ARPU should be helped further by price increases for existing and new customers alike in July. TalkTalk therefore looks well placed to hit full year targets, albeit with considerable help from its wholesale customers and some aggressive price increases. The focus back onto ARPU and away from (expensively) chasing retail subscriber growth is nonetheless to be applauded.  
  • June 27, 2018

    ‘Telstra 2022’ – the inevitable end game of Australia’s n [...]

    ,
    Telstra has been on the path to structural separation ever since Senator Conroy came up with his plan for the nbn back in 2009. With its one-off nbn payments winding down, Telstra had no choice but to overhaul its business structure, structurally separate its assets & significantly reduce headcount. But this strategy comes with major implementation risk and any mis-steps could quickly negate the expected benefits.
  • June 25, 2018

    Hitting targets, but pushing too hard? TalkTalk Group Q4 2017/18 [...]

    ,
    TalkTalk hit both its subscriber and EBITDA targets for 2017/18, but Q4 contained some worrying trends including core consumer revenue in decline despite strong subscriber growth, with strong business revenue growth compensating. It held fast on guidance for 2018/19, although the 15% target underlying EBITDA growth is largely driven by regulated cost cuts, and revenue growth may be (again) achieved through the business side, which will be purely wholesale following the sale of its direct business customer base. Having spent the last few years not growing retail subscribers enough in a growing market, TalkTalk is now perhaps trying to grow too fast in a mature market, putting pressure on its ARPU from new and existing customers alike.  
  • June 14, 2018

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q1 2018: Diverging stra [...]

    ,
    UK residential communications market revenue growth strengthened in Q1, but this was entirely driven by an overlapping price increase from BT, and the decline in market volume growth continues. Continued pressure on both subscriber volume growth and ARPU has led to diverging strategies, with most operators focused on sustaining ARPU, but TalkTalk chasing volumes at the low end, with the former approach currently proving more successful. Looking forward, the benefit of BT’s price rise will fall away completely next quarter and market revenue growth will likely resume its downward trend, but the nadir may be within sight if the flight to quality persists at most operators  
  • TV platform forecasts to 2026: DTT and pay-lite set to grow
    TV platform forecasts to 2026: DTT and pay-lite set to grow
    June 6, 2018

    Football embraces Chinese ‘hot’ money – at a risk

    ,
    In a display of chutzpah, Mediapro acquired the Ligue 1 domestic broadcasting rights from 2020-24 in what is the most disruptive shock to the French broadcasting industry in a generation; one that is likely to accelerate Canal+’s decline, force a review of the outdated regulatory framework, and possibly spur an M&A spree. The Mediapro move only makes sense as a highly speculative bid to resell the rights, or a dedicated channel, to French platforms in 2020. The odds are high that the broker ultimately fails to fulfil the contract, as just happened in Italy, where Sky is now expected to get the Serie A licence. Precedents of new entrants acquiring domestic top-flight rights bode poorly for Mediapro, and for the league. The Ligue 1 may live to regret the introduction of a ‘re-sell right’ into its licensing terms.  
  • May 30, 2018

    BT new Consumer strategy: Converging, but in a good way

    ,
    BT has emphasised ‘convergence’ in its new Consumer strategy, but it has avoided most of the usual fixed-mobile convergence mistakes, with separate brands, minimal discounting and only slightly flawed converged products. The general strategy is to improve customer service to improve market share trends (particularly in broadband), enable premium products/positioning, and allow for cross-selling of a strong set of converged (in a broader sense) products, which is very sensible in our view. It does require extra spending in the short-term to improve customer service and the perception thereof (particularly in broadband) before premium positioning and cross-selling can be effective, therefore improved trends at the bottom line may take some time to come through.
  • May 23, 2018

    BT Q4 2017/18 results: Slowing broadband bites, but recovery pos [...]

    ,
    BT Group met expectations for the 2017/18 financial year, but future guidance is very modest compared to previous performance and financial market expectations, with 2018/19 revenue and EBITDA both guided to decline by around 2% with capex rising. In our view, this weakened outlook is primarily driven by the ongoing slowdown and increasing competitiveness of the UK broadband market, with operating metrics at BT Consumer particularly weak. BT’s re-vamped strategy looks good in parts, and could deliver the incremental improvements necessary to outperform the new (much more modest) expectations, helped by existing – and likely continued – strength in mobile.
  • May 21, 2018

    Virgin Media Q1 2018 results: Good, but beware headlines

    , ,
    The highlight of Virgin Media’s Q1 results was the return to growth for its UK cable ARPU (+1.3%), although the improvement in trend should be interpreted with caution due to accounting changes. Headline group revenue growth of 5.2% was boosted by profit-neutral handset sales, with underlying growth of around 3.2% – still strong in the sector context. Virgin Media continues to do relatively well in the increasingly challenging UK broadband market, but with evidence of limited pricing power, sluggish roll-out and subscriber growth, revenue trends look set to slow.    
  • May 18, 2018

    Vodafone/Liberty Global deal: Slim economics and regulatory risk

    , ,
    Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty's assets in Germany and Central Europe is likely to face regulatory scrutiny at the EU – and possibly also German – level. We view Vodafone’s expectation of closure in mid-2019 with no remedies as unlikely. The economics of the deal for Vodafone are slim, highly reliant on extracting sizeable synergies, and vulnerable to operational risk and potential remedies for regulatory approval, particularly in Germany. While we see some synergy benefit from combining two cable assets in Germany, we are unconvinced of meaningful benefits from combined fixed/mobile offerings.          
  • May 15, 2018

    Covert growth in UK mobile

    , ,
    The UK mobile market is growing strongly – we estimate revenues by 5% and EBITDA by 8% in 2017 – excluding one-off regulatory drags and the loss of non-profit-generating handset revenue. Regulatory price cuts end in mid-2018, and the handset effect will disappear from all reported figures from April 2018, leaving scope for very positive headline growth next year – considerably better than its European comparators and the sluggish UK fixed market. The outlook for the UK mobile industry is the best it has been in a decade, with significant growth in data demand, price increases, some supply constraints, rational competition, and major regulatory drags rapidly fading.          
  • Free
    May 10, 2018

    TPG mobile launch plans – there’s going to be data on the str [...]

    , ,
    With an increasingly commoditised fixed market, the Australian mobile market is under attack as both margins and market share are under pressure. TPG is set to launch its mobile network with rock bottom introductory pricing for mobile data.
    $0.00
  • May 10, 2018

    NBN update: more fibre + better pricing will lead to higher speed [...]

    ,
    The NBN has made significant progress on improving speed uptake on its network in the past six months driven by the pricing changes announced in November 2017. However, customer complaints that continue to rise as the rollout progresses and an increasing threat from fixed wireless substitutes continue to weigh on the future of the NBN.
  • March 15, 2018

    Telco Roundtable Breakfast – key findings

    ,
    As identified by our survey, fixed-mobile substitution will be a growing risk for the fixed broadband market. Telcos need to understand and manage the risk of consumers switching away from fixed-line to mobile, particularly in light of the upcoming availability of 5G. The increasing consumption of SVOD has driven the growth in fixed broadband in recent years. However, changing viewing habits, particularly towards viewership on mobile devices, could help spearhead mobile substitution. We expect pressure on fixed broadband to grow as the combination of 5G network launches and TPG’s mobile market entry will increase consumer interest and options for wireless broadband solutions.
  • March 2, 2018

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q4 2017

    ,
    UK residential communications market revenue growth fell again to 1.2%, with weakening ARPU growth the main driver. New customer pricing remains flat to down, and existing customers are being increasingly discounted, fuelling the ARPU weakness. High speed broadband adoption is proceeding apace, but the high speed premium is fairly thin, muting the impact on ARPU. Regulated wholesale price cuts from Openreach finalised today and due in April 2018 will not help. Looking forward, the March quarter will benefit from price timing effects at BT and Virgin Media, but we fear that the rest of 2018 will follow the current downward trend and the operators will need to adjust to an ex-growth environment.
  • February 26, 2018

    Virgin Media Q4 2017 results: Growth limited by market pressures

    ,
    Virgin Media’s Q4 performance was a little softer than expected, with subscriber figures quite weak and no improvement in ARPU growth despite a better implementation of its annual price rise. The cause is however likely market-driven, with broadband demand slowing and all operators struggling for ARPU growth, and Virgin Media does now lead the market for subscriber, RGU and revenue growth.The prospects for 2018 are solid if not spectacular, with Project Lightning driving market share gains and ARPU defended by a network speed advantage that will last for many years yet.
  • February 21, 2018

    5G Update February 2018

    ,
    While 5G is on track for network rollout by 2020, leading global and Australian Telcos have announced their intentions to launch 5G fixed wireless services from late 2018 onwards. In Australia, 5G remains a key agenda item for the Government, the NBN and the Telco Market.
  • February 8, 2018

    Unlicensed Spectrum – a wireless pathway for OTT disruption?

    For many decades, wireless services using licensed spectrum have been the backbone of our communication networks.However, with rapid improvements in technology, communication networks using unlicensed spectrum could witness an explosion in usage and utility that could rival the licensed experience and even the NBN.