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    May 22, 2019

    ‘Is Orange the new Bank?’ Telcos and Fintech

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    As OTT services grow in value, telco revenues are moderating and the lack of growth opportunities in the core business is driving telcos to look at adjacencies. Fintech is disrupting traditional financial services and offers a high value adjacency for telcos to play in where they can maximise their natural strengths.
  • May 15, 2019

    An alternative model to the proposed TPG-Vodafone merger

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    The ACCC has blocked the $15bn merger between TPG and Vodafone, citing its belief that a merged entity would reduce competition given TPG’s ability to become a fourth mobile operator. TPG and Vodafone intend to appeal the decision and have extended their merger agreement to 31 August 2020. Venture Insights believes there is an alternative model which would enable infrastructure efficiencies and benefit competition.
  • May 13, 2019

    Sky UK Q1 2019 results: weak ARPU hits bottom line

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    Sky made a surprisingly weak start to 2019, with revenue growth decelerating to 1.9% (the first time below 4% since the European businesses merged in 2015), due to weaker ARPU trends. However, Sky expects improvement to follow, blaming one-off factors in the quarter. The ARPU weakness drove EBITDA down 11.3%, but this should bounce back across the rest of 2019 as football rights costs turn from a drag to a positive. Comcast highlighted collaborations with Sky across tech, advertising, content distribution and even news, stating it is on track to achieve the anticipated $500 million in annual synergies over the next couple of years
  • May 1, 2019

    Say goodbye to SIM cards – the rise of eSIMs

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    The conventional SIM card has been integral for device connectivity for almost three decades. The arrival of eSIMs will remove space constraints greatly benefiting IoT devices and wearables. Although eSIMs can be seen as a threat to telcos - as they enable a more efficient churn process - we believe the benefits of eSIMs outweigh the risks.
  • April 23, 2019

    5G to change the shape of UK mobile

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    The capacity boost with 5G will be more important than any speed or latency uplift. We estimate a 7-fold increase in mobile capacity in the UK and 13x+ for O2 and H3G. We view fixed mobile substitution products as quite niche although the number of mobile-only households is likely to creep up. mmWave would have the capacity to substitute for fixed but has many hurdles to overcome. Capacity-constraints have tempered competition of late and their removal risks an increase in intensity, especially as H3G views itself as sub-scale – good for policy makers but another challenge to add to the industry’s woes.
  • April 12, 2019

    Monthly Australian TMT Wrap: March 2019

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    The number of announced transactions in March is low relative to February. A number of companies raised capital for a range of purposes, which were well received by the market. The volatility in Lyft’s share price post listing has shown that the market has struggled to price Lyft due to a lack of comparable listed companies in similar sector.
  • April 10, 2019

    Mobile Sports Streaming, Gaming and E-sports: A revenue opportuni [...]

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    There’s been a lot of speculation in the market about the revenue upside for 5G operators. Our latest Australian consumer survey shows there is good 5G market awareness and that 18% of subscribers would consider paying a price premium for a better 5G network experience. Venture Insights believes a 5G product which allows subscribers to move to a separate 5G slice which provides enhanced data throughput would clearly work with the gaming and sports consumer segments and benefit the network provider if offered as a (for example) $5 - $10 monthly option. The risk is that if Telcos stick with AYCE and unlimited plans, then the platform operators (such as Google Stadia) will benefit from the cloud based gaming subscriptions and take advantage of a better 5G network
  • April 8, 2019

    The North heads south: European mobile in Q4 2018

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    European mobile service revenue growth dropped to -1.3% – its lowest level in three years – particularly disappointing as growth should be bouncing back post-EU roaming tariff cuts. Having enjoyed relatively favourable dynamics in 2018, the UK and Germany are facing marked changes in momentum from here. Regulation limiting intra-EU call prices could hit hard – up to 6% of revenues and 20% of EBITDA in the UK, although other EU countries may be less exposed due to lower tariffs currently.
  • April 2, 2019

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q4 2018

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    Market revenue growth accelerated to 3% in Q4, but it might never reach this level again, being helped by a never-to-be-repeated BT overlapping price rise. With price rises becoming more challenging in general, and superfast pricing under pressure in particular, maintaining/increasing ARPUs is becoming more difficult despite superfast volumes surging. Openreach’s ultrafast roll-out has accelerated, challenging Virgin Media and bringing the prospect of further price premia, but perhaps too late to be of significant benefit in 2019.
  • March 28, 2019

    UK mobile market Q4 2018: Headwinds gathering for 2019

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    Following record growth last quarter, the UK mobile market took a step down to just 0.9% growth in the quarter to December on the back of increasing pressure in the business market and the impact of out-of-bundle limits. 2019 looks set to be a tough year for the sector with: a series of potentially painful regulatory hits; markedly lower price rises than last year; and early signs of a degree of creeping competitive intensity. We view 5G as a much-needed means of expanding capacity in the sector with upsides from M2M and IoT likely to remain relatively small.
  • March 27, 2019

    NBN update plus our views on sale options and timing

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    Key NBN 1H19 financials were roughly in line with expectations, but the growing number of Service Class 0 premises may be a threat to NBN’s activation targets, and an opportunity for bypass options such as fixed wireless. Given the upcoming federal election, what sale options and strategies could the Government consider in 2019?.
  • March 22, 2019

    Monthly Australian TMT Wrap: February 2019

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    February saw an increased level of market activity in comparison to January. The uncertainty around the TPG-VHA merger continues, with TPG is likely to write down the value of its spectrum licenses and mobile network assets in event the merger doesn’t get ACCC approval.
  • March 22, 2019

    BritBox’s muted arrival in the UK: ITV FY 2018 results

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    After the heights that Love Island and the World Cup took ITV to in H1, the broadcaster held on over the tougher last few months of 2018 to see growth in ad revenue (0.8%) and total viewing (linear and VOD, 3%). However, it was the announcement of the subscription video service BritBox—with the discussions around the “strategic partnership” with the BBC in its concluding phase—that garnered most interest. ITV’s investment in the service is modest when compared to its global competitors—up to £25 million in 2019, £40 million in 2020 and declining thereafter—but it is a prudent low-risk entry into what is an expanding but difficult market.
  • March 21, 2019

    TPG 1H19 – Business sector to be a key focus as NBN erodes Cons [...]

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    On 19th March 2019 TPG released its 1H19 results. Overall profit plunged to A$46.9mn compared to A$198.6mn 1HY18, though much of this was a result of the write down of its spectrum assets and small cells mobile network. The announcement was also the clearest indicator of TPG potentially no longer offering entry level A$60 per month NBN, echoing industry consensus that NBN pricing is unsustainable.
  • March 20, 2019

    Virgin Media UK: proceeding with caution as speed advantage comes [...]

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    After strong underlying 2018 results, the more subdued outlook for 2019 is an important shift, driven by regulatory pressure on mobile, higher programming costs, one-offs and softening demand. Lightning is continuing to drive market share gains in new build areas, and should provide a 2ppt tailwind to revenue growth in 2019, but enhanced visibility on the economics of rollout suggests that its conservative approach is a wise one. In existing build areas, Virgin Media is facing-off pricing pressure from TalkTalk on high speed, and potentially from BT on even higher ultrafast speeds, with it moderating pricing and launching a market-beating 500Mbps product in Spring 2019 in response.
  • March 14, 2019

    Huawei and UK 5G: Identifying the risks

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    ­­­­Governments and operators have come under increasing pressure to exclude Huawei’s 5G equipment from national networks, with justifications usually kept vague and wide-ranging rather than specific, and no evidence provided. Given the role of Huawei’s 5G equipment in the network and the extent of existing testing and checking, realistic security risks that apply to Huawei and not to all other equipment suppliers are hard to conceive. The risks of any ban are however very real; with Huawei one of only three global-scale telecoms equipment suppliers, and the preferred early choice for 5G radio equipment in the UK, removing this choice will massively increase costs and delay roll-outs of cutting-edge connectivity.
    Sector .
  • March 4, 2019

    O2 UK delivering well on many, but not all, fronts

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    ­­­­O2’s Q4 results delivered market-leading service revenue growth of 3%, double-digit EBITDA growth, sustained strong net adds and low churn. With ARPU service revenue growth flat, all of the growth came from other service revenue including M2M (machine-to-machine) and MVNO; a lumpy category up by more than 40%. Following a period of strong outperformance, O2 will face some challenges in 2019: some cost inflation to mitigate and the risk of a churn increase following December’s outage although experience suggests this is likely to be short-lived.
    Sector .
  • March 4, 2019

    MWC – all very exciting but where’s the money?

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    ­­­­The combination of 5G, AI, IoT and big data were evangelised at MWC as generating massive scope for the transformation of multiple industries. That much is probably true, but it is the tech and consultancy companies who will likely receive the benefits, with connectivity revenue likely to be modest. For the operators, 5G brings more capacity much needed for hungry smartphone users, and perhaps the opportunity to transform themselves into a leaner operating model.
  • March 1, 2019

    Vocus 1H19 earnings update: Losses in both Consumer and Business

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    On 27th February Vocus announced its 1H19 earnings. Revenue increased slightly but EBITDA and profits remain on a downward trend. Consumer and business segments saw large declines in revenue and SIOs. In a year of “resetting”, Vocus faces the difficult challenge of extracting value out of its fibre assets through enterprise projects and transforming its Consumer segment with a renewed focus on mobile and wireless.
    Sector .
  • February 22, 2019

    BT Global Services: Playing a bad hand as well as it can

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    BTGS’s strategic plan seems like a sensible move in a very challenging market but it heralds its transition to a new operating model where its competitive advantage is largely eroded, its addressable market squeezed and it is arguably sub-scale. Although hybrid infrastructure and revenues from transition to cloud-based IT will provide something of a cushion, guidance and consensus forecasts are too optimistic in our view – cost-cutting plans are therefore likely deficient. Longer term, with IT services increasingly easy for corporates to manage themselves, diminished appetite for hybrid networks and global giants such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google squeezing out the middle-man, the space that BTGS occupies is likely to be considerably smaller.
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  • February 21, 2019

    BT Q3 2018/19 results: Openreach stronger than it looks, but Cons [...]

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    BT’s Q3 results were a little mixed, with mobile particularly weak, but the company remains on track to meet/exceed its (fairly conservative) guidance for the current year, and hit (modest) consensus expectations for 2019/20. Openreach was very weak at the headline level (-9%), but stripping out an accounting effect and internal revenue the division grew by 2% by our estimates despite significant price cuts, and full fibre roll-out is progressing well. While Openreach should accelerate this year, Consumer will be hit by a price rise holiday and slowing mobile, with investors likely having to wait for existing sports rights contracts to play out to see significant profitability improvement.
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  • February 20, 2019

    Monthly Australian TMT Wrap: January 2019

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    January was a rather quiet month in the Australian M&A space, with the ELMO Software/ BoxSuite’s binding sale agreement as the only major transaction. The launch of 5G networks in Australia continues with the results of the 3.6GHz spectrum auctions, though TPG will scale down its deployment due to the Huawei equipment ban.
  • February 20, 2019

    Australian Telco Breakfast Roundtable: Five key discussion topics [...]

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    Background
    • On 19 February 2018, Venture Insights conducted a telco industry breakfast roundtable (in Melbourne and Sydney) to discuss the following five key topics for 2019. The consensus view was that these topics are both inter-related and very dependent on government decisions and future policy. In that regard, Australia is seen as unique to the extent to which government policy has determined market structure in the telco industry.
    Five key discussion topics for 2019
    • Will 5G leadership lead to market share gain and ARPU increases?
    • Will 2019 be the year of take-off for fixed wireless broadband substitution?
    • Will there be consolidation in the IoT market in 2019?
    • Will the Government announce its NBN sale strategy in 2019?
    • What will be the outcome of the proposed TPG – VHA merger?
    Sector .
  • February 18, 2019

    Telstra and Optus – nbn pain, falling ARPUs and the fight for 5 [...]

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    On 14th February 2019 Optus and Telstra announced their latest earnings. Both revenue and earnings remained subdued as subscriber growth was offset by a slowdown in NBN migration payments, and continuing pressure on mobile ARPUs. 5G and Fixed Wireless remain key growth areas going forward.
    Sector .