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    July 17, 2019

    Monthly Australian TMT Wrap: June 2019

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    June was a relatively quiet month for Australian TMT space although few significant announcements.
  • July 5, 2019

    Vocus Strategy update: leverage fibre, subsea and mobile to build [...]

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    Vocus held its strategy day on 3rd July 2019, detailing its efforts to turning around its business units. Its core Network Services and Retail units require substantial investment to stimulate revenue and market share growth. Vocus has identified mobile and its subsea cable assets as key drivers for growth. After two unsuccessful merger attempts in the last month, Vocus needs to ensure it can transform the company.
  • June 27, 2019

    2019 UK TV advertising backstopped by Brexit

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    We expect total TV ad revenues to decline 3.3% in H1 2019, partly due to a return to Earth following the idyllic conditions of the World Cup in June 2018. Bad omens for advertising for H2 include the sagging economy since April and the Government’s impetus to achieve Brexit on 31 October, with or without a deal. Our forecast remains a 3% decline for total TV ad revenues for 2019 as a whole, with the risk of a more serious downturn in 2020 in the wake of Brexit.
  • June 25, 2019

    European mobile in Q1 2019: Toughest conditions in four years

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    European mobile service revenue growth slipped again to -2.0%; its worst performance in four years.Regulation limiting intra-EU call prices could hit hard next quarter – with the UK likely to be hardest hit by up to 6% of revenues and 20% of EBITDA. Excluding the EU-call impact, we see greatest scope for improving trends in Italy and France thanks to easier comps and diminishing competitive intensity.

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  • June 24, 2019

    Monthly Australian TMT Wrap: May 2019

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    May was another busy month for the telco sector with significant announcements on three major M&A deals in the market. Furthermore, M&A activity continued to be strong in May with several deals announced.
  • June 20, 2019

    Network Slicing – business transformation opportunities from me [...]

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    Network slicing is a key feature of 5G networks, allowing MNOs to allocate independent virtual networks to customers with specific capabilities and quality of service guarantees. In addition to improved performance, network slicing will create new business models that will bring new revenue streams for MNOs. There are a range of opportunities across media, gaming, emergency services, IoT, transport and MVNO market segments.  
  • June 18, 2019

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q1 2019: Price wars dom [...]

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    Market revenue growth dipped to around zero in Q1, with fierce competition on new customer pricing the major factor. All four of the big operators now suffer from declining ARPU, with existing customer price rises increasingly hard to land given falling prices for new customers. The rapid move to superfast is not helping as much as it should; the operators will hope that they fare better with the move to ultrafast.
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  • June 17, 2019

    UK mobile market Q1 2019 – Pressure to mount after mixed bag in [...]

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    The UK mobile market posted its slowest growth in more than two years this quarter; just 0.5% service revenue growth although net adds were strong and churn was down. ARPU is under considerable pressure thanks to regulation limiting out-of-bundle spend which will exacerbate as the year progresses. Several other negative developments look set to be layered on the pressures this quarter, including a step-up in competitive intensity as 5G launches –  with H3G’s pricing of unlimited data a sign of a resurgence in its aggression
  • June 13, 2019

    O2 UK: holding its own in toughening conditions

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    After a period of significant outperformance, O2’s Q1 results reverted to sector average revenue growth with ARPU down by 3% and all of the growth coming from ‘other’ revenues. Regulation limiting out-of-bundle spending has been a significant drag which will continue to worsen. A more competitive market and a punishing regulatory outlook will make it very challenging to sustain 2018 growth trends as this year progresses
  • June 12, 2019

    Monetising user-generated video

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    ­­­­Video sharing platforms, like YouTube, Facebook Watch and Twitch, are vying to attract creators with monetisation options such as branded content and user payments. Advertising income, already limited for many small and medium-sized creators, has been undermined by YouTube’s response to brand safety concerns. The new tools come with their own obstacles, but are necessary to keep platforms attractive to video creators.
  • June 11, 2019

    Mobile Blackspot Programs: Telstra likely to be the future winner [...]

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    The Commonwealth Government and States have funded four rounds of blackspots resulting in 1,047 new base stations. In March 2019, the Government announced two more blackspots rounds with total federal government funding of $160 million. Similar to the previous rounds, we expect the majority of total state and federal funding to go to Telstra. However, there are still bidding concerns for the rounds.  
  • June 3, 2019

    TalkTalk UK: a welcome slowdown?

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    TalkTalk hit the bottom end of its (revised) 2018/19 EBITDA guidance, an achievement given fierce price competition and the margin-dilutive effect of high speed upgrades. This is however helped by one-off Openreach price cuts, and price rises for ancillary products (voice calls and pay-TV) and out-of-contract customers that look hard to sustain. Subscriber growth slowed dramatically in Q4, and continuing this more measured approach could help the company counter multiple market pressures, and perhaps even lead to a détente in the current price wars
  • May 29, 2019

    Vodafone – pressure is still on

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    Vodafone’s operating performance worsened again this quarter with revenues down 3.3% and an extension of its underperformance relative to peers. Vodafone was right to cut its dividend given the extremity of the cash constraint. With financials in Euro terms in negative territory and worsening, an elevated and progressive dividend was not sustainable. In spite of difficult market conditions, the lower end of guidance looks achievable as comparables will become easier and football rights costs decline. The transformation programme will need to pay off fast to deliver any meaningful growth
  • May 28, 2019

    Virgin Media UK: contemplating its strategic future as pressure m [...]

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    Q1 results evidenced the downturn that Virgin Media had flagged in February. Consumer cable weakened sharply to just 1% growth vs 3%+ historically, partly thanks to ‘increased promotions in response to market dynamics’. Monetising Virgin’s speed advantage is becoming more challenging. Competition is hotting up for high-speed broadband in particular, fuelled by Openreach targets for smaller players and BT’s full fibre and G.fast rollouts. The company faces two vital strategic decisions – whether to wholesale BT’s fibre products outside its footprint, and whether to allow wholesale access to its own network. The former is likely to have the most legs and offers an alternative to further Lightning extension
  • May 27, 2019

    BT UK: Promising future, but investment required

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    BT is accelerating its ‘full fibre’ rollout, likely due to a combination of a successful build to date, very promising regulatory developments, and (let’s not deny it) worrying competitor build plans. Full year results were a little weak versus consensus, with guidance a little soft as well, leading to questions of how this can be funded, particularly the roll-out acceleration from 2021/22 to cover half the country by the mid-2020. Whatever the funding mechanism, we regard the investment as sound, with BT’s planned operational transformation also promising but potentially requiring further upfront investment
  • May 23, 2019

    Monthly Australian TMT Wrap: April 2019

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    We have seen an uptick in M&A activity in April on the back of a relatively quiet period in March. Strong deal activity has been distributed throughout the telecommunications, media and technology industries.
  • 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.