UK Telecom

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  • May 6, 2021

    ITV Q1 2021 results: Returning to 2019 levels

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    Total advertising revenues were down 6% year-on-year in Q1, but strong expected growth in Q2 should ensure H1 is on par with 2019, and up 26% on 2020 Coming into the first quarter of this year—following the strong end to 2020—there was little market visibility of TV advertising revenues due to the possible impact of Brexit on advertisers' supply chains, and of course the effect of the pandemic over the winter. ITV reported total advertising revenues down just 6% year-on-year to £402 million, with the market being stronger than previously anticipated. Perhaps of greater interest, however, is the outlook ITV gave for April to June, given the 43% total advertising revenue decline ITV experienced last year as a direct result of COVID-19. In contrast April was up 68% while May and June are expected to be up at least 85%. While these are certainly buoyant figures, it should be noted that this would mean H1 2021 would be on par with 2019.  
  • April 29, 2021

    Deals not quite done: 5G spectrum auction final results

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    The main part of the second UK 5G spectrum auction completed on 17 March 2021, with the nature and number of blocks won by each operator decided, and we discussed the results and implications in End-of-line spectrum 50% off: UK second 5G auction results. This morning (27 April 2021) Ofcom announced the final results of the auction, which incorporates the assignment stage, i.e. deciding which particular blocks of very similar spectrum each operator receives, as well as announcing a proposed spectrum trade (still subject to Ofcom approval) between Vodafone and O2.  
  • April 29, 2021

    The push for OpenRAN: Careful what you wish for

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    The term ‘OpenRAN’ covers both the separation of hardware and software across different RAN (Radio Access Network, the 'last mile' of mobile networks) elements (essentially the boxes that sit next to the antenna, at the bottom of the antenna, and/or in a nearby exchange), and having open interfaces between these elements in a variety of configurations. If this is standardised (i.e. standardising the hardware/software split and the APIs), this would allow the 'mixing and matching' of different vendors within an operator's RAN; while many operators currently have more than one RAN supplier even within a single country, these are separated geographically, and on any given site equipment has to be replaced or upgraded (to 5G for example) using equipment from the original supplier.  
  • April 21, 2021

    Brief reprieve from COVID turbulence: UK mobile market in Q4 2020

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    The sector rebounded slightly in the quarter to December thanks to a seasonal improvement in the roaming drag, although the partial lockdown tempered the recovery. We await imminent news on spectrum trading, and there may also be some licence fee reductions as a consequence of the lower prices in the recent 5G auction. While the sector is likely to continue to struggle into Q1, the outlook is much brighter thereafter thanks to the annualisation and even reversal of some lockdown effects, and to higher price increases from the spring.
  • February 22, 2021

    Vodafone: Leverage looms large

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    • Generating cash is top of Vodafone’s agenda right now, and we may be seeing early signs of that driving operational tactics ahead of resolving its leverage crisis through either an IPO of Vantage or a sale of its Iberian assets
    • EBITDA growth would really help. Analyst forecasts of +4% for next year are not supported by recent history and a simple bounce-back of roaming revenues should not be assumed
    • Q3 results were a mixed bag with the very slight improvement in revenue trends accounted for by easing roaming pressure. Green shoots in German fixed is a highlight, with growth in UK mobile a touch disappointing