Mobile

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  • October 6, 2017

    European mobile in Q2 2017

    European mobile service revenue growth witnessed a rare growth spike this quarter with growth rising to 0.5%, likely due in large part to the reduced impact this quarter from the European roaming cut regulation, but also helped by a slight softening of MTR cuts and continued ‘more-for-more’ price increases. In the upcoming September quarter this roaming regulation holiday will end and the full impact of ‘free roaming’ will be felt, with the impact intensified by the quarter containing the main summer holiday season, thus the spike in mobile service revenue growth is likely to more-than-reverse. ‘Worry free’ data has always had consumer appeal, but it appears to have also reached operator appeal given its improved economics, and given its reported success at improving ARPUs we expect zero-rated launches to continue

  • October 5, 2017

    New Zealand Mobile Market Outlook

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    Challenging times driven by increasing competitive intensity, rising data usage and transitioning to new network technologies
  • October 4, 2017

    UK Mobile Market Q2 2017

    Mobile service revenue growth continued to improve on a reported basis, rising to 1.1% from 0.3% in the March quarter, but most of this improvement came from a significant dip in the MTR cut drag, with underlying growth improving by a much more modest 0.2ppts. The quarter also benefited from the current round of in-contract price increases, which were more widespread and at a higher level than last year, and also from a brief holiday in the impact of roaming cut regulation, with the full abolition of retail charges only being implemented on 15 June, too late to have a major impact in the current quarter. Looking forward, the roaming regulation holiday will end with a jolt in the September quarter, with a full three months of zero retail roaming charges coinciding with the main holiday season for mobile consumers, which could impact market growth by up to 2ppts by our (tentative) estimates
  • Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    September 8, 2017

    Internet Trends H1 2017: Fruits of the mobile revolution

    With smartphones in the pockets of 3/4 of the UK population, and accounting for over half of all online minutes, the mobile revolution is in its final stages, allowing us to survey its impact. As the number of social media users continues growing, untapped older demographics and Instagram help the Facebook suite of apps grow in the UK, but Snapchat is the social media app of choice for UK teens. News publishers face issues with brand attribution as social media platforms overtake search as the main news aggregators online, while small UK video publishers have become unlikely winners in a global market for soft news, infotainment and gags that dominate social video
  • August 16, 2017

    Virgin Media Q2 2017 results: Mixed quarter, but still the faste [...]

    Virgin Media’s subscriber figures in Q2 were a little mixed, with total homes and broadband figures weaker than a year earlier, but pay TV much stronger. ARPU growth fell though, largely due to price increase timing effects, leading to a modest dip in revenue growth. Project Lightning premises passed during the quarter rose to 127k, making at least some progress towards upping its run-rate after changing its roll-out management team and approach, the company declined to give indications of how this will evolve. The broader market context is still one of slowing broadband volume growth, and Virgin Media continues to take market share, being the fastest growing of the ‘big 4’ in both subscriber and RGU volumes
  • August 9, 2017

    BT Q1 2017/18 results: Back to growth (for now at least)

    BT Group revenue returned to growth, at least temporarily, helped by overlapping price rises in consumer, one-off regulated price cuts on leased lines annualising out, and mobile handset sales improving. Regulatory news was unusually positive, with Openreach taking the initiative on FTTP, and BT winning an appeal against damaging leased line regulation, which may end up being significantly eased. BT continues to do well in consumer and struggle in business markets, with the ongoing deceleration in the consumer broadband market the main cloud on the horizon.
  • July 31, 2017

    Vodafone Q1 2017/18 results: Broadly flat, but promising signs

    Vodafone Europe’s revenue growth bounced back from a weak previous quarter, but its top 4 markets combined were broadly flat in underlying terms. There are nonetheless promising underlying signs, including reduced churn, (slowly) improving subscriber growth and steady NPS. Vodafone has launched all-you-can-eat social/music/video bundles under the ‘Vodafone Pass’ moniker in several markets, which appear both popular and ARPU-enhancing, and being early to market with such an innovation is laudable. Next quarter Vodafone will be hit by the full force of the EU roaming regulation, but excluding this factor the performance is likely to be steady at least, helped in part by the UK business recovering from its recent weaknesses
  • July 28, 2017

    Mobile Telco Market Outlook

    A mature mobile market with steady growth driven by a rising population is on the cusp of change with both innovation (5G) and disruption (TPG) just around the corner.

  • July 26, 2017

    TalkTalk Group Q1 2017/18 results: Still growing the base

    TalkTalk sustained positive broadband net adds in the June quarter, adding 20k to its base, largely driven by reduced churn, which was largely driven by re-contracting a large proportion of existing customers onto its new cheaper bundles. Unfortunately, this had a negative effect on revenue growth, with Group revenue growth (ex-carrier) dropping to -3.2%, as the new cheaper bundle adoption diluted ARPU, but the company remains confident that revenue growth will turn positive for the full financial year as the ARPU dilution effect annualises out. The company recently announced a price rise due in August of around 5-6% for customers not on its new cheaper bundles (around 38% of its total broadband base), which will help with the ARPU turnaround, but may make maintaining positive broadband net adds more challenging
  • July 12, 2017

    Cometh the hour for the commercial PSBs

    The first half of 2017 has seen the announced departure of three CEOs from the commercial PSBs within the space of less than two months: David Abraham of Channel 4 (14th March), Rob Woodward of STV (25th April) and lastly Adam Crozier of ITV (3rd May). Responding to the challenges of digital switchover and the advertising recession of 2008/09, as well as their own specific company issues, one of the first tasks for all three CEOs has been to raise staff morale. The last seven to ten years may have been taxing at times. The next seven to ten promise to be no easier, and may yet be harder, as the successor CEOs chart their way through the continuing transformation of the UK digital landscape

  • July 10, 2017

    Tinder and online dating: who’s paying?

    Tinder is one of the most high-profile mobile apps on the market and has transformed the adoption of online dating.Tinder’s success is due in large part to its understanding of user experience, which is key to getting, keeping and upselling users through network effects.But the financial value of this success is limited by the industry: even a mobile revolution has not created a high- revenue mass market where none existed before

  • June 29, 2017

    European mobile in Q1 2017: Stuck at zero

    European mobile service revenue growth remained stuck at zero in Q1, with a heightened impact from the mobile termination rate cuts in Germany and price promotional activity in southern Europe mitigating improving markets in the UK and France.‘More-for-more’ price rises continued both during the quarter and after, and appear to be more widespread than the 2016 increases. This should be driving revenue growth at a healthier rate than zero, and may well do as out-of-bundle revenue declines fade away in significance and regulated MTR and roaming cuts annualise out. The regulatory impact should improve next quarter, as the UK MTR impact drops, Germany at least gets no worse, and the roaming impact has a lull prior to the ‘free roaming’ mandate taking effect towards the end of the quarter. From Q3, however, the ‘free roaming’ effect will be in full force, and will negatively impact operators in northern European and smaller European countries in particular

  • June 29, 2017

    The map is now the territory

    We are in the midst of a rapid change in how maps are made and used, from a world of cartographers making records of physical features to sell to consumers and businesses, to one where information about the world is automatically tracked and measured, and built into every service we use. A whole host of industries traditionally unconcerned with geography are being and will be transformed by maps and location, from retail and advertising to finance and insurance. Every business needs to know what maps can offer them. A variety of maps suppliers are jostling for position in serving this growing need: local or international, free or commercial, seeing mapping as a core or side-business. Different suppliers suit different requirements.

  • June 27, 2017

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q1 2017: Profit warning [...]

    UK residential communications market revenue growth dipped modestly to 2.7% in Q1, from 3.3% in the previous quarter. This was mainly driven by ARPU weakness arising due to the timings of Sky and Virgin Media’s price rises, but weakness also stemmed from the sustained decline in broadband volume growth and continued new customer price competition.Looking forward, the implementation of an overlapping price increase from BT, as well as Sky’s price increases coming into full effect, should boost market revenues by around 1ppt in Q2 2017, but this will drop away again by Q3. The churn fallout from the communication of these price increases should also dissipate in Q2, benefiting BT and Sky competitively, and making it challenging for TalkTalk to repeat the feat of recovering to positive retail broadband net adds

  • June 23, 2017

    UK mobile market Q1 2017: EE leads the way

    UK mobile service revenue growth continued to improve, with reported growth reaching 0.4%. The rate of improvement has, however, started to slow. Pricing remains solid and data traffic continues to grow healthily.Looking forward, there will be some rare regulatory relief from next quarter, as the regulated MTR cuts drop to de minimis levels, helping service revenue growth by about 0.5ppts, and there is a brief respite from the impact of regulated EU roaming cuts before the full effect of their abolition on 15 June. Q3 will not be so comfortable, with the EU roaming abolition taking full effect during the main holiday season.
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  • June 23, 2017

    How to sell games: borrowing ideas from Netflix and Apple

    A Netflix-like subscription model for console based video gaming is a big step closer with Microsoft launching a clear and easy Xbox subscription game solution, and it may even work. Sony’s strategy for premium online services across all its businesses remains muddled and complicated, but could be fixed quickly: dropping game streaming is the first step, providing a lower cost subscription service is the second. Google’s admission that more curation in its games app store will be needed finally indicates a better understanding of the games industry, in parallel with the company’s efforts to win over other creative industries

  • June 10, 2017

    BT Q4 2016/17 results: Mobile strength, pressure elsewhere

    BT had a reasonable quarter in its consumer broadband business given market pressures, and a very strong one at EE with continued growth acceleration. It had a good quarter for fibre adoption as well, helping its wholesale divisions stabilise their revenue, but business/IT was weak as expected.Regulatory pressure remains intense despite the (welcome) Openreach agreement, with price cap regulation proposed or due on a range of products, and a regulatory approach which is far from investment-orientated. Pressures in the business/IT market are likely to continue, and pressures in the consumer broadband market are likely to intensify, justifying BT’s current cautious approach to guidance and dividends.

  • June 9, 2017

    UK General Election online: news and advertising

    In contrast to print coverage, most shared news and opinion content on social media was decidedly pro-Labour this election season, with fake news relatively non-existent compared to the US election in November. Facebook’s role in news distribution has steadily grown and now rivals Google’s, but only a half of the UK’s electorate are active users – for the platform to become decisive in political news would require much stronger turnout among young voters. Facebook was the chief digital ad platform for both main parties, with Conservatives targeting Labour seats, Labour defending them and both adopting a negative tone.

  • June 8, 2017

    Nintendo Switching to a new console era

    The successful launch of the Nintendo Switch creates a new console model, and demonstrates the staying power and long term value of great franchises. Microsoft reveals the specification for Scorpio, but it won’t be enough to catch up to Sony. New franchises, and probably new leadership, will be the key to stopping Xbox sliding into irrelevance outside North America. Sony’s PlayStation 4 now exceeds 60m units worldwide, allowing Sony more freedom to publish a wide range of challenging creative console games, while VR games continue to gain momentum.

  • May 19, 2017

    Virgin Media Q1 2017 results: Roll-out and competitive pressures

    Virgin Media has run into network roll-out difficulties, having to revise down its previously stated homes passed figures and not committing to a full year 2017 target, with the current build run rate well below that required to hit its medium-term targets. Operating results were a little mixed, with ARPU showing signs of continued discounting and market-wide competitive pressures, and churn was higher than the previous year, but net adds were strong, RGUs stronger, and UK consumer cable revenue growth is still over 4%. Slower Project Lightning roll-out and weaker ARPU growth points to slower revenue growth during 2017 than might otherwise have been expected, but Virgin Media still has relatively strong prospects in a toughening market .
  • May 3, 2017

    People, not devices: Audience buying in a cross-device world

    Cross-device identity profiles are used to stitch together fragmenting online ad audiences, but also to enable new links between advertising and marketing, across European markets. This moves value from media itself to understanding each consumer and how they access content and services on proliferating connected devices. By 2020 we predict that 58% of all UK online ad buys by value will make use of high-quality audience IDs, led by the largest advertising platforms but limited by privacy regulation and cost.
  • March 7, 2017

    Mobile World Congress: a look at tech & media

    Smartphone hardware did not take centre stage at the year’s premier mobile industry event in Barcelona, with license-built Nokias generating as much excitement as flagship smartphones from HTC, Sony and Samsung. In VR, AR and IoT, the most impressive signs of progress were under the hood rather than in flashy device announcements – as the actual use cases become more specific, so does hardware and software. Concrete business applications around the personal data generated by connected mobile devices was a major theme, with new types of automation and personalisation in services and media – and a growing market for security.

  • February 28, 2017

    Fashion’s new look: digital sets new trends

    Fashion underpins the growth of ecommerce; online took a 14% share of all fashion retail in the UK last year and is set to rise further, challenging the economics of physical retail. Mobile is a key driver, it is changing research and shopping habits, and in turn affecting supplier product cycles, merchandising and marketing strategies. Social media has disrupted the traditional shopping funnel, changing how trends and styles proliferate and shifting the sites of authority and influence in a £66 billion sector.
  • February 27, 2017

    Amazon’s ad business: shoppers for sale

    Amazon’s marketing services bring in a growing stream of direct, high-margin revenue, but their main role is still in supporting vendor partnerships. Amazon uses customer profile data to profit from its own media and that of others, illustrating the value of a direct customer relationship in online advertising. In the future, Amazon’s moves into video content and voice interfaces are likely to significantly expand ad inventory, but maintaining the trust of shoppers is not straightforward.