About this weblog

What you need to know: This weblog captures key data points about the global telecoms industry. I use it as an electronic notebook to support my work for Pringle Media.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Worst May Be Over for European Mobile

European mobile operators' revenues are not falling as fast as they were, according to a GSMA report.  Aggregate industry revenues declined 7.3% year-on-year in the first two quarters of 2014, compared with 8.4% in the whole of 2013, the report said. Third quarter results from a number of European operators have shown a further improvement in revenue trends, the GSMA added.

Of the five largest economies in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom), the GSMA said the UK has shown the strongest performance, reaching close to stability in the second quarter of 2014 on a year-over-year basis (minus 0.6%), compared with a 5.8% decline in 2013 as a whole. source: GSMA report

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2.2 Billion Mobile Internet Users

There were 2.2 billion subscribers to the mobile internet in 2013, representing approximately 30% of the global population, according to GSMA Intelligence. The research firm forecast that an additional 1.6 billion people worldwide will become mobile internet subscribers by 2020, bringing the total number to 3.8 billion, equivalent to half of the world’s expected population in 2020. GSMA Intelligence statement

Monday, December 15, 2014

Samsung's Smartphones Stumble in Asia and Europe

Research firm Gartner said "demand for Samsung’s smartphones [in the third quarter] weakened, mostly in Western Europe and Asia. Samsung’s smartphone sales declined 28.6 percent in China, the biggest market for Samsung."  Gartner also said it expects Apple to experience its biggest ever fourth-quarter sales, "with both of its large-screen phones seeing demand exceed supply since their launch."  Source: Gartner statement

For analysis of why Samsung is losing ground to Apple at the high-end of the smartphone market, please see my report for STL Partners: Samsung and Google versus Apple?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Internet Reaches 40% of Global Population

The ITU reported that Internet use rose 6.6% globally in 2014 (3.3% in developed countries, 8.7% in the developing world). The number of Internet users in developing countries has doubled in five years (2009-2014), with two thirds of all people online now living in the developing world, according to the UN agency. Source: ITU's Measuring the Information Society Report

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Telefónica Stokes Up Latin American Growth Engine

Telefónica reported organic revenue growth in the third quarter of 2.8% year-on-year ( up from 1.3% in the second quarter). Group revenues in the quarter were 13.02 billion euros. Although revenues fell 6.6% in Spain, 2.3% in the UK and 0.5% in Germany, they climbed 1.1% in Brazil and 14.1% in the rest of Latin America.

Telefónica said capital spending in the year to September reached 5.74 billion euros, up 26% year-on-year in organic terms, "as a result of the focus on technological transformation and network modernisation and higher investment associated with customer base growth." 

The Madrid-based telco also said its consumer video business generated 717 million euros in revenue in the first nine months of 2014, following organic growth of 24% in the third quarter, up from 15% in the first half of 2014 (see graphic). source: Telefónica statement

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Vodafone Sees Stabilisation Ahead in Europe

Vodafone reported a 3% year-on-year fall in revenues, on an organic basis, in the six months ending September 30th to 20.75 billion British pounds (32.96 billion US dollars). In the quarter ending September 30th, service revenues fell in most of its European operations on an organic basis, but rose by double digits in Ghana, India and Turkey, excluding the impact of regulated cuts to mobile termination rates.

Vittorio Colao, group CEO, said: “There is growing evidence of stabilisation in a number of our European markets, supported by improvements in our commercial execution and very strong demand for data. ... Customers are showing an increasing propensity to trade up to bigger data allowances as a result  of the 4G experience. In India, growth has accelerated, stimulated by investment in our 3G network....Today in Europe, only 6% of our customers are using 4G. In the next 18 months, we will reach 90% 4G coverage in Europe, giving us a great opportunity to increase penetration, stimulate  data usage and grow customer spend.” source: Vodafone statement

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Deutsche Telekom Buys Anaemic Growth

Deutsche Telekom said its revenue rose by 2% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis in the first nine months of 2014. In the third quarter, reported revenue rose by 0.8% (the company didn't provide an organic figure). In Germany, revenue fell by 1.5% to 5.59 billion euros as a result of declines in fixed-line and wholesale revenues, while revenue in the rest of Europe fell 3.6%.

In the U.S., revenues rose 8.8% to 7.36 billion US dollars, driven by stronger customer growth. However, the company's aggressive pricing led to a fall in profitability (see slide). source: Deutsche Telekom presentation

Friday, October 31, 2014

Samsung's Smartphone Sales Plummet

Samsung Electronics reported a 30% year-on-year fall in sales in its IT and mobile division to 24.58 trillion Korean won (22.89 billion US dollars) in the third quarter. Samsung blamed a "weak smartphone product mix" and declining average sale prices related to price reductions for older models. Samsung is anticipating increased competition in the fourth quarter, as rivals launch new models. source: Samsung presentation

Rapid Uptake of Apple Pay

Consumers in the U.S. activated more than one million payment cards for use with Apple Pay in the first three days after the service became available, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. He made the remarks during an on-stage interview at The Wall Street Journal's technology conference in Laguna Beach, California. "Visa and Mastercard have told us, if you sum up everyone else that's in the contactless mobile payment at the point of sale, we're already number one," he said. "Not just number one, but we're more than the total of all the other guys. And we've only been at it a week." source: Macworld article

Thursday, October 30, 2014

China Telecom Reports Revenue Fall

China Telecom reported a 3.9% year-on-year fall in operating revenues to 77.64 billion Chinese yuan (12.7 billion US dollars) in the third quarter. In the first three quarters of 2014, the number of mobile subscribers in the group fell by 4 million to 182 million "due to the increasing market competition driven by the launch of LTE services and strengthened marketing promotion by the peers." However, China Telecom said the number of 3G subscribers rose 9.4 million to approximately 113 million. 

The group said it started to roll out 4G handset service in 16 cities in late July and further expanded to 24 more cities in early September, "effectively fostering" a rebound in the number of mobile subscribers" with a cumulative net increase of 1.33 million in the third quarter." source: China Telecom statement

Bharti Looks Forward to Digital India

Bharti Airtel reported a 7% year-on-year increase in revenue to 228.45 billion Indian rupees (3.72 billion US dollars) in the quarter ending September 30. In India and south Asia revenues were up 12% (boosted by a 23.5% increase in digital TV sales), while revenues rose 6.4% in Africa, as measured in local currencies.

In a statement, Mr. Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India & South Asia, said: “Airtel's revenue growth in India has further accelerated to 12.3% in Q2. We continue to see strong momentum in mobile data which has grown by 74% in this quarter. Airtel's pioneering 4G roll-out in 15 cities is now witnessing stronger customer acceptance. On the regulatory front, the recent TRAI recommendations on making more contiguous spectrum available in the upcoming auctions have the potential of transforming the industry. We believe that this is critical to realise the exciting vision of "Digital India" that the Government has articulated."

Airtel said data revenues now account for 10.1% of overall Africa revenues up from 6.6% in the corresponding quarter last year. It also reported that active Airtel Money customers have risen to 5.3 million, with the total value of transactions crossing 3.3 billion US dollars during the quarter ending September 30th. source: Airtel statements

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Facebook Warns of Slower Growth Ahead

Facebook reported a 58% year-on-year increase in revenue in the third quarter to 3.2 billion US dollars, excluding the impact of foreign exchange rates, driven by a sharp increase in mobile advertising. The social network forecast that its revenue will grow between 40% and 47% in the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, daily active users climbed 19% year-on-year to 864 million - about the same growth rate as in the previous quarter.

The social network said mobile advertising revenue represented 66% of advertising revenue for the third quarter of 2014, up from  49% of advertising revenue in the third quarter of 2013. Payments and other non-advertising services generated 246 million dollars in the quarter, a 13% increase from the same quarter last year.

On a call with analysts, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, said: "Over a five-year time frame, we have a number of services which we think are well on their way to reaching one billion people: WhatsApp, Instagram and search are a number of them. And once we get to that scale, then we think that they will start to become meaningful businesses in their own right. And I think that the right way to think about that, as I've tried to say repeatedly on these calls, is not that we're going to try to monetize them very aggressively in the next year or two, because I really think for each of those categories, the right strategy is to first focus on connecting one billion plus people in reaching the full potential before very aggressively turning them into businesses." source: Facebook statements

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mobile Data and Pay TV Lift América Móvil

América Móvil said its service revenues rose 4.7% year-on-year in the third quarter, lifted by a 15.2% increase in mobile data revenues and a 14.7% increase in Pay TV revenues.   The group's third quarter revenues totalled 221 billion pesos (16.29 billion US dollars), 13.7% more than in the year-earlier quarter, reflecting, among other things, the consolidation of newly-acquired Telekom Austria from July 1st.

The groups's wireless subscriber based shrunk in Mexico by 2.7%, offset by a 3.3% increase in Brazil (see chart).  América Móvil also reported growth in wireless subscribers in much of Latin America and the US. source: América Móvil statement

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ericsson's Revenue Rises in the East

Ericsson said its sales rose 3% year-on-year in the third quarter on a like-for-like basis to 57.6 billion Swedish krona (7.94 billion US dollars). On a reported basis, sales were up 9% (see graphic).

The Stockholm-based firm said the revenue uplift was mainly driven by growth in the Middle East, China, India and Russia, partly offset by sales decline in North America. source: Ericsson statement

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Orange Slows Decline in Revenues

Orange reported a 2.3% year-on-year decline in revenues in the third quarter on a comparable basis to 9.81 billion euros. The Paris-based group said: "The gradual improvement in the revenue trend since the beginning of the year ...is related primarily to France, Belgium and the Enterprise segment, while the Africa and the Middle East segment continued its steady growth."

Orange said it has significantly expanded its 4G networks, covering 71% of the population in France, 66% in Spain, 59% in Poland and 81% in Belgium as at 30 September. It also launched 4G services in Romania, Slovakia and Moldova. "4G+ deployment has started in France, with services launched in Strasbourg and Toulouse in July, and coming to Paris very soon," Orange added. "In France, deployment of fibre optics intensified; 3.257 million households had connectivity at 30 September 2014, an increase of 684,000 households (+27%) with connectivity in nine months." source: Orange statement

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Verizon Catching AT&T

Comfortably outpacing arch-rival AT&T, Verizon reported a 4.3% year-on-year increase in revenues in the third quarter of 2014 to 31.6 billion US dollars. (AT&T reported a 2.5% increase to 33 billion dollars).

Verizon's wireless revenues rose 7%, while wireline revenues fell 0.8%, dragged down by falls of more than 4% in wholesale revenue and enterprise revenue.  Verizon said it activated more than 10 million 4G devices in the third quarter taking the total to almost 60 million. source: Verizon presentation

Sales of Smartphones Keep AT&T Growing

AT&T reported a 2.5% year-on-year increase in revenues to 33 billion US dollars in the third quarter, lifted by a 4.9% increase in wireless revenues. However, a 44% increase in wireless equipment revenues (primarily the sale of smartphones) accounted for all of that growth - wireless service revenues actually fell 0.2%.

Across the first nine months, AT&T also reported a 2.5% in revenues to 98 billion dollars. In 2014, the giant US telco has, so far, spent 16.83 billion dollars on capex - a 8.1% increase on the previous year. That represents a fairly aggressive capex-to-revenue ratio of 17% source: AT&T statement

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple Sees Double-Digit Growth Ahead

Apple said it expects to earn revenues of between 63.5 billion and 66.5 billion US dollars in the quarter ending December 28th. That would represent an increase of between 10% and 15% on the 57.6 billion dollars Apple earned in the same quarter last year.

In the quarter ending September 27th, Apple's revenues rose 12% to 42.1 billion dollars. While iPhone revenues climbed 21% and Mac revenues 18%, iPad revenues fell 14%. Source: Apple statement

China Mobile Reports First Revenue Decline

China Mobile reported revenues of 156.55 billion Chinese yuan (25.58 billion US dollars) for the third quarter of 2014, a year-on-year decline of 2%. That probably represents the first revenue fall in the history of the company.

The leading Chinese telco reported that its customers sent 149.5 billion SMS messages in the quarter down from 188.6 billion the previous year. Moreover, the volume of voice calls (measured in minutes) fell slightly. In a statement, the company noted: "In the first three quarters of 2014, the mobile communications sector in Mainland China was already in the phase of high penetration rate, and the room for development in traditional communications business was severely restricted. At the same time, the impact of the competition from mobile Internet became more evident."

China Mobile also reported that it now has almost 41 million 4G customers on its network, up from less than 3 million at the end of March. source: China Mobile operating data

Friday, October 17, 2014

Google Leans Heavily on Own Sites

Google reported a 20% year-on-year increase in revenue to 16.52 billion US dollars in the third quarter of 2014 (see chart). The growth was primarily driven by advertising on Google's own sites and non-advertising revenues, such as the sale of apps and software. The Internet giant said that YouTube, Android/Play and Chrome are all "demonstrating high consumer success."

Google said the average cost-per-click (paid by advertisers to Google) decreased approximately 2% over the third quarter of 2013 and remained constant from the second quarter of 2014. source: Google statement

Monday, September 22, 2014

iPhone 6 Sets New Sales Record

Apple said it has sold more than 10 million new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, a new record, just three days after the launch on September 19.  In September 2013, Apple said it sold nine million new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models in the three days after their launch. 

The iPhone 6 handsets are available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K. and will be available in more than 20 additional countries on September 26. The new iPhones will be available in 115 countries by the end of the year, Apple added.

“Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible.” source: Apple statement

Friday, September 19, 2014

China Mobile Opens Up Large Lead

China Mobile is now significantly larger than any other mobile operator in the world. It's annual mobile revenue is 66.4 billion British pounds (108.82 billion US dollars), compared with 52.4 billion pounds for second placed Verizon Wireless, according to the GSMA. However, the U.S. firm has a far higher average revenue per connection. Source: GSMA Intelligence statement

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sony Scales Back Mid-Range Handsets

Reconfirming an earlier forecast, Sony said it will generate 7.8 trillion Japanese yen (72.7 billion US dollars) in operating revenues in the year to March 31 (a 0.4% rise year-on-year), but said it will take an impairment charge of 180 billion yen in its mobile communications division. Responding to changes in the competitive environment, Sony said it is revising its mobile communications strategy "in certain geographical areas, concentrating on its premium lineup, and reducing the number of models in its mid-range lineup." source: Sony statement

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How Apple Makes Money on Hardware

Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the Apple Watch.  The iPhone 6 features a  4.7-inch display with 1334 x 750 resolution, providing 38% more viewing area than the iPhone 5s, while iPhone 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch Retina HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, providing 88% more viewing area and nearly three times the pixels of the iPhone 5s.

By way of comparison, the forthcoming Sony Xperia Z3 (one of the most advanced Android handsets) will have a 5.2-inch  display with 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Z3 features a 20.7 megapixel camera and can support 4K video recording. The new iPhones have a 8 megapixel camera and can support 1080p video at 60 frames per second (fps) and 240fps for slo-mo.

In the U.K., the iPhone 6 starts at £539 for the 16GB model, while the iPhone 6 Plus 128GB (the top of the range model) costs £789. The Sony Xperia Z3 is available for pre-order for £530 with 16GB internal memory and an microSD slot that can take cards of up to 128 GB.

No prizes for guessing who has the higher profit margins. source: Apple and Sony web sites.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mobile Data Shores up China Mobile

China Mobile reported a 6.51% year-on-year increase in operating revenues in the second quarter to 169.85 billion Chinese yuan (27.61 billion US dollars). Although voice revenue in the first half of 2014 declined 5.3% and messaging revenue 13.2%, wireless data traffic revenue rose 51.8% and now represents 24.2% of revenue from telecommunications services. 

China Mobile said it now has 410,000 4G base stations, covering more than 300 cities and serving 13.94 million customers. customers reached 13.94 million  It aims to increase the number of 4G base stations to 500,000 by the end of the year and the number of 4G customers to 50 million. source: China Mobile presentation

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Deutsche Telekom Slows Down Again

Deutsche Telekom reported a 0.6% year-on-year increase in revenue in the second quarter on an organic basis to 15.11 billion euros. In Germany, revenue fell 1.8% to 5.46 billion euros, but in the U.S., revenue rose 14.6% to 7.23 billion US dollars. The telco claimed to be gaining share over archival Vodafone in the German mobile market, while T-Mobile USA's aggressive pricing helped it add another 1.4 million connections in the quarter. source: Deutsche Telekom presentation

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

No Dolce Vita for VimpelCom

Multinational telco VimpelCom reported a 5% organic year-on-year decline in service revenue in the second quarter to 4.9 billion US dollars, despite a 5.2 million increase in mobile customers to almost 221 million. In both  Russia and Ukraine, service revenue fell 4% year-on-year, while the Italian unit, Wind, saw a 10% decline. VimpelCom reiterated its targets of a low-to-mid single digit decline in revenue for 2014, while committing 21% of revenues on capex.

CEO Jo Lunder said: “As previously indicated, we expect 2014 to be a challenging year for our group. The results for the second quarter were impacted by a weaker operational performance in some markets, but also by the macro-economic situation in Russia and Ukraine. In Italy we continue to outperform competitors in a weak market. We are seeing improved financial performance in Kazakhstan and Bangladesh, with year-on-year service revenue growing by 8% in both markets. The improvements are due both to the investments we are making in our networks and to our focus on delivering the best customer experience."

source: VimpelCom presentation

Friday, August 1, 2014

Samsung Sees Sharp Fall in Mobile Sales

Samsung Electronics reported a 21% year-on-year decline in sales in its IT and mobile division in the second quarter to 27.51 trillion Korean won (26.58 billion US dollars).

Samsung said it saw lower smartphone and tablet shipments due to a "higher inventory level; and increased costs related to ramp-up sales of S5 and inventory reduction." The Korean electronics giant added that mid to low-end smartphone shipments were down due to weak demand in the EU and lower 3G demand coupled with intensified price competition in China. In the tablets market, Samsung said its shipments were down due to weak overall demand, including lower demand for replacements. source: Samsung presentation

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Telefónica Calls the Bottom in Spain

Telefónica reported a 1.3% year-on-year rise in revenues in the second quarter to 12.73 billion euros on an organic basis. Although revenues fell 9.1% in Spain and 4.4% in Germany, there was a 0.1% increase in the U.K. In Brazil, revenues climbed 1% and in the rest of Latin America 11.3%. Telefónica said revenues have reached the bottom in its home market of Spain.

César Alierta, Executive Chairman, added: “First-half results started to reflect the benefits from the investments in network modernisation carried out in recent quarters, which are enabling us to further differentiate our offering in key markets. This increased differentiation resulted in an acceleration of commercial activity in the second quarter, with net additions of two million mobile contracts, five million smartphones and over six hundred thousand pay TV customers. All these are high-value services contributing to boost average revenue per customer and to reduce churn." source: Telefónica presentation

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Orange feels the Squeeze

Orange reported a 3.4% year-on-year decline in revenues to 9.79 billion euros on a comparable basis in the second quarter. Mobile services revenue in France fell 9.5% and18.6% in Spain, but overall revenues in Africa and the Middle East climbed 9%.

Orange Group CEO Stéphane Richard said: “We’ve maintained our commercial momentum, despite a hyper-competitive environment, largely due to the investments we’ve made in very high-speed broadband, fibre and 4G. The quality of Orange’s fixed and mobile networks is widely recognised and this has allowed us to differentiate ourselves even more. It is clear that consumers are not just focused on price but are also sensitive to quality and service."

Orange said it increased capital spending by 3.1% in the first half of 2014 as it expanded the coverage of its LTE and fibre networks. source: Orange presentation

Friday, July 25, 2014

Vodafone Shrinks Further in Europe

Vodafone said its service revenue fell 4% year-on-year on an organic basis in the quarter ending June 30th to 9.4 billion British pounds (15.95 billion US dollars). Service revenue fell 8.7% in Europe, more than offsetting a 7.6% rise in the rest of the world.

Continuing to invest heavily in LTE and fibre, Vodafone said it had 22,900 4G base stations in Europe at the end of June, covering 52% of the population, up from 18,200 at the end of March. source: Vodafone presentation

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Facebook Flies Higher Still

Facebook reported a 59% year-on-year rise in revenue to 2.91 billion US dollars, stripping out the impact of currency movements, for the second quarter. The world's leading social network said its advertising revenue rose 65% to 2.68 billion dollars, while mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 62% of advertising revenue, up from approximately 41% of advertising revenue in the second quarter of 2013. source: Facebook statement

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Apple Leans on the iPhone

Apple reported a 6% year-on-year increase in revenue to 37.43 billion US dollars for the quarter ending June 28th. The rise was fuelled by a 9% increase in iPhone revenues, offsetting a 8% fall in iPad revenues. Apple forecast that it will generate revenue of between 37 billion and 40 billion for the current quarter. That  compares with 37.5 billion dollars in the same quarter last year. source: Apple statement

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Huawei Races Away from Ericsson

Huawei said it generated sales revenue of 135.8 billion Chinese yuan (21.89 billion US dollars) in the first six months of this year, an increase of 19% year-on-year, with an operating margin of 18.3%. That puts Huawei well ahead of Swedish rival Ericsson, which recorded revenues of about 15.22 billion dollars in the first half. However, unlike Huawei, Ericsson no longer makes handsets.

Cathy Meng, Huawei's CFO, said: "Revenue and profit for the first half of 2014 are in line with our expectations. Driven by increasing investments in LTE networks worldwide, Huawei has further solidified its leadership position in mobile broadband. Rapid growth in software and services helped maintain steady growth in our carrier network business. Our efforts in the enterprise business have begun to pay off....Our flagship smartphone, the Ascend P7, is being sold in more than 70 countries and regions." source: Huawei statement

LTE Fuels Fast Growth at Verizon

Verizon reported a 5.7% year-on-year increase in revenue in the second quarter to 31.5 billion US dollars.  Boosted by growing take-up of LTE, wireless service revenues rose 5.9%, while strong demand for fibre connections lifted wireline consumer revenue 5.3%. source: Verizon presentation

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flattish Quarter for Ericsson

Ericsson, the world's leading supplier of mobile networks, said its sales in the second quarter fell 1% year-on-year to 54.8 billion Swedish krona (8 billion US dollars) on an organic basis.  Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson, said: "Sales in the quarter year-over-year were driven by growth in the Middle East, China and India, as well as continued capacity business in North America. This was offset by, as previously communicated, lower revenues from two large mobile broadband coverage projects in North America that peaked in the first half of 2013, and reduced activity in Japan." source: Ericsson statement

Google Sees Strong Revenue Growth

Google said it revenues rose 22% year-on-year in the second quarter to 15.96 billion US dollars, driven by a 23% increase in advertising revenues generated by Google owned sites and apps. However, the average cost per click paid by advertisers fell 6% year-on-year. source: Google presentation

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Communications is the only Cloud on Intel's Horizon

Intel reported an 8% increase in revenues in the second quarter to 13.8 billion US dollars. PC Client Group revenue was up 6% year-on-year to 8.7 billion dollars, while Data Centre Group revenue was up 19% to 3.5 billion dollars. The world's largest chip maker said Internet of Things Group revenue was up 24% year-on-year to 539 million dollars, but Mobile and Communications Group revenue fell 83% to just 51 million dollars.

"Our second-quarter results showed the strength of our strategy to extend the reach of Intel technology from the data center to PCs to the Internet of Things," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. "With the ramp of our Baytrail SoC (systems on a chip) family, we have expanded into new segments such as Chrome-based systems, and we are on track to meet our 40 million unit tablet goal. In addition, we hit an important qualification milestone for our upcoming 14nm Broadwell product, and expect the first systems to be on shelves during the holidays." source: Intel statement

Friday, June 27, 2014

Android Users Spend Modestly on Apps

Google said it paid out 5 billion US dollars to developers selling apps through its Google Play store in the past year - that is 2.5 times the amount it paid out the previous year. The search giant also said there are now one billion users of Android, which implies most users are spending less than $10 a year on apps (Google keeps 30% of the price paid by consumers). source: Rappler live blog from Google I/O 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

Emerging Best Practice in Digital Commerce

Extract from the conclusions in the GSMA's guide to Emerging Best Practice in Digital Commerce for Mobile Network Operators, which I co-authored:  

"Minimise the risks for service providers: There are many different potential charging models, ranging from a one-off fee to regular rental fees to transaction-based fees. A success or transaction-based charging model, which is widely used for internet advertising, is likely to be popular with service providers, as it limits their risk – they only have to pay when their customers are actually making use of the digital commerce service. 

"Competition and regulation could also have an impact on business models. If internet-based digital brokers offer merchants and brands transaction/success-based fees, then mobile operators could come under pressure to offer a similar tariff structure. At the same time, regulation, particularly with respect to capping interchange fees, could limit the scope the banks and payment networks to pay digital commerce brokers transaction-based fees.

"In summary, MNOs need to simplify their approach in terms of business models and on-boarding of service providers. Only through these changes will they achieve scale and the mass uptake of services. Ultimately it will be the consumer and the market that drives innovation and uptake, with those service providers who deliver an excellent customer experience and safe, secure and simple services, winning the battle for customer’s loyalty." source: Emerging Best Practice in Digital Commerce for Mobile Network Operators

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Amazon Fires Up E-commerce Smartphone

Amazon unveiled its first smartphone, the Fire. It is equipped with Amazon's new Firefly app, which is designed to quickly recognise things in the real world—web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, movies, music, and millions of products, and enable the user to take action in seconds.

Amazon says Firefly "combines Amazon’s deep catalog of physical and digital content with multiple image, text and audio recognition technologies to quickly identify web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products. Simply press and hold the dedicated Firefly button to discover helpful information and take action in seconds."

When it recognises printed phone numbers, email, web addresses, QR, and bar codes, the Firefly button enables the user to make a call, send an email, save as a contact, or go to the website without typing out long URLs or email addresses. In the case of multimedia content, the Firefly button enables the user to add titles to a watch/wish list or download the music track or video and start watching immediately. In the case of physical products, the Firefly button enables the user to add the item to a wish list, or order on Amazon.com. source: Amazon statement

Friday, June 6, 2014

AT&T Lifts Revenue Forecast

Citing strong second quarter wireless trends, AT&T said it now expects its revenue to rise about 5% in 2014. (It had been forecasting revenue growth of at least 4%). The giant U.S. telco also reaffirmed that it plans to spend 21 billion US dollars on capex this year. source: AT&T statement

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Vodafone Remains Mired in Europe

The Vodafone Group reported a 4% decline in service revenue on an organic basis in the quarter ending March 31st. For the year to March 31, group service revenue was down 4.3% as Vodafone's European operations continued to decline. However, service revenues rose 13% in India, 4.1% in the Vodacom group (southern Africa) and 7.9% in Turkey.

Total group revenue for the year to March 31 was down 2.2% on an organic basis to 38.35 billion British pounds (64.8 billion US dollars). Vodafone said it plans to spend about 19 billion pounds in capex in the two years to March 2016, "with capital intensity subsequently normalising to 13-14% of annual revenue." source: Vodafone presentation

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mobile Data Keeps Vodacom Growing

Vodacom said its revenue rose 7.4% on a organic basis in the year to March 31 to 75.71 billion South African rand (7.32 billion US dollars). However, the rise in service revenue was more modest at 3.7% on an organic basis, as declines in voice and messaging revenue partially offset a sharp rise in data revenue.

Vodcaom said it will be increasing capital investment over the medium term to between 14% and 17% of group revenue. That figure was 14% in the year ending March 31.

Vodacom said in its international division (its operations in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria and Lesotho) mobile financial services "continue to grow well" with M-Pesa customers increasing 21.6% to 6 million. In Tanzania, M-Pesa contributed 18.8% (2013: 14.1%) to service revenue. source: Vodacom presentation

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Telecom Italia tries to Steady the Ship

Telecom Italia reported a 6.2% fall in revenues on an organic basis in the first quarter of 2014 to 5.19 billion euros. Revenues in Italy fell 8.3%, dragged down by a 15.6% fall in mobile service revenue,  compounded by a fall of 0.2% in Brazil.

The group said it is aiming for stable revenues between 2013 and 2016, while keeping capex at 18% of revenues in Italy and 17% of revenues in Brazil.

Telecom Italia said: "On the domestic market, while competitive dynamics cooled, particularly in the mobile telephony sector, average revenue per customer continued to fall in traditional services, partly as an initial result of a repositioning strategy towards bundle and/or combined fixed-mobile plans which – against a decline in near term profitability – will allow market share to be retained in the short term and expenditure and hence revenue to be gradually stabilised in the medium to long term. Results also continue to be affected negatively by a number of regulatory dynamics and aspects, particularly regarding the prices of wholesale services." source: Telecom Italia presentation

Friday, May 9, 2014

Telefónica: A Tale of Two Regions

Telefónica reported a 1.5% year-on-year rise in revenues on an organic basis in the first quarter of 2014 to 12.32 billion euros. Revenue declines of 8.2% in Spain and 8.8% in Germany were offset by a 14.8% rise in Spanish-speaking Latin America. In Brazil, revenues were up 0.2% and in the U.K. down 0.3%.

César Alierta, Executive Chairman, said:  “First quarter results show visible progress in the execution of the strategy announced for 2014, based on further reinforcing the differentiation of our products and services through a non-replicable infrastructure. In this sense, we are making significant investments, accelerating our network modernisation. Investments related with transformation and growth accounted for over two thirds of the total in the first quarter, enabling us to significantly expand our new fibre and LTE services." source: Telefónica statement

Thursday, May 8, 2014

U.S. Rejuvenates Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom said its revenues rose 4.2% on an organic basis in the first quarter of 2014 to 14.89  billion euros. In its home market, Germany, revenues fell 1.5%, dragged down by a 3% decline in fixed revenues. But in the U.S., organic revenues rose 16% as T-Mobile US added 2.39 million customers in the first quarter.

The Bonn-based company said: "T-Mobile US has once again caused a sensation on the U.S. mobile market with a new initiative. Since January, as part of the Un-carrier phase 4.0, the company has been reimbursing new customers’ early termination fees charged by previous providers. This contributed to further very strong customer growth."

"Our success story in the United States continues. The decision to invest boldly in this market was right on the mark," added Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom. "We are once again delivering figures in the first quarter that confirm we are on the right track to achieving our leadership ambition in Europe's telecommunications industry."

However, in the group's European operations (other than Germany), revenue was down 2.6% on an organic basis, while T-Systems' revenue fell 4.1% on an organic basis. source: Deutsche Telekom statement

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pay TV Props Up América Móvil

América Móvil reported a 6.9% increase in first quarter revenues to 195.4 billion pesos (14.97 billion US dollars) at constant exchange rates. In Brazil, revenue growth was 8.5%, with wireless revenues rising 5.7% and fixed revenues increasing 11%, fuelled by a 21% growth in pay TV revenues. In Mexico, mobile service revenues rose 4.1% to 67.8 billion pesos and fixed-line revenues rose 0.8%. "On both platforms, service revenues [in Mexico] exhibited their strongest performance in several quarters," the group reported.

América Móvil said it finished March with 342.9 million "accesses", 4.5% more than in the same period of 2013. This figure comprises 272.2 million wireless subscribers, 31.4 million landlines, 19.6 million broadband accesses and 19.7 million PayTV units. The group said its fixed line operations added 1.2 million revenue generating units (RGUs) in the quarter, of which 571,000 were Pay TV units and 492,000 broadband accesses.

The Mexico City-based group said: "Economic activity continued to improve marginally in much of the developed world during the first quarter of the year, whereas in many developing countries, particularly those more dependent on commodity prices—and in particular those with trade links to China—it decelerated somewhat. In Mexico the economy appears to be making a comeback, continuing with the improved trends that began to take form during the fourth quarter." source: América Móvil statement

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Samsung Sees Mobile Sales Slip

Samsung Electronics reported a 1% fall in revenues in its IT and Mobile Communications division in the first quarter of 2014 to 32.44 trillion Korean won (31.48 billion US dollars). Samsung said: "The company maintained solid tablet sales momentum by shipping nearly 13 million units during the slowest quarter....For the next quarter, smartphone and tablet demand is expected to slightly increase under continued weak seasonality, but Samsung will maintain solid earnings momentum through full-fledged global sales of Galaxy S5. Based on its differentiated features, and initial response from the market, Samsung expects Galaxy S5 to surpass sales of Galaxy S4." source: Samsung statement

Revenue Decline Slows for Orange

Orange said its consolidated revenues fell 3.8% on a comparable basis in the first quarter of 2014 to 9.8 billion euros. The Paris-based operator said: "Excluding the impact of regulatory measures, the decrease was 3%, an improvement of 0.8 percentage points compared to the 4th quarter 2013 figure, which primarily related to France and the Enterprise segment."

In France, Orange's revenue decline slowed to 4.9% after falling 6.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013, while in Spain, growth (+3.2%) was slightly higher than in the 4th quarter of 2013 (+2.7%), led by mobile handset sales on instalment payment plans and by fixed services.

In the first quarter, Orange's capital spending was 1.16 billion euros - 11.8% of revenues (+0.6% percentage points compared to the first quarter of 2013 on a comparable basis) as Orange upped spending on high speed fixed and mobile broadband. source: Orange statement

Saturday, April 26, 2014

NTT DOCOMO Forecasts Turnaround

NTT DOCOMO said its operating revenues fell 0.2% in the year ending March 31 to 4.46 trillion Japanese yen (43.9 billion US dollars). However, it forecast that revenues will rise by 3% to 4.59 trillion yen in the year ending March 31, 2015.

Kaoru Kato, CEO, said: "We are getting back on track toward growth through measures aimed at medium-term growth, including improvements in customer satisfaction through new billing plan offerings, fully leveraging the impact of our introduction of the iPhone and new devices and services, enhancement of our network, and a transformation of our business portfolio."

Japan's largest mobile operator reported that its average revenue per user fell to 4,390 yen in the quarter ending March 31 from 4,670 yen in the same quarter last year. However, its so-called Smart ARPU rose to 500 yen from 460 yen. NTT DOCOMO defines Smart ARPU as revenues from sale of content, collection of charges, advertising, handset insurance and other sources.  The operator' said 7.69 million people now subscribe to content from its dMarket app store. source: DOCOMO presentation

Friday, April 25, 2014

AT&T Hits the Accelerator

AT&T forecast it will achieve consolidated revenue growth of at least 4% in 2014 following a 3.6% rise in revenues in the first quarter - its strongest revenue growth in two years. AT&T generated 32.5 billion dollars in revenues in the quarter and invested 5.8 billion in capex (the equivalent figures for Verizon were 30.8 billion and 4.2 billion).

The U.S. telco said that its wireless revenues rose 7% in the quarter thanks in part to a 50% rise in equipment revenue as AT&T phases out handset subsidies. source: AT&T presentation

LTE Drives Growth for Verizon

Verizon said its revenue rose 4.8% year-on-year in the first quarter to 30.8 billion US dollars (growth in the previous quarter was 3.4%). Wireless service revenues were up 7.5% year-on-year to 18 billion dollars, as Verizon activated a further 8.1 million LTE devices in the quarter. Consumer revenue in the wireline market was up 6.2% year-on-year to 3.8 billion dollars.

Fran Shammo, CFO, said: "Capital expenditures in the quarter totaled 4.2 billion dollars, up 548 million dollars with all the increase in wireless. With our 4G LTE coverage build complete, wireless spending is now focused on adding capacity and density to our existing coverage and utilizing our AWS spectrum to further optimize the network." source: Verizon presentation

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mobile Ads Give Facebook A Stellar Quarter

Facebook reported a 72% year-on-year increase in revenue for the first quarter to 2.5 billion US dollars. The social network said "mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 59% of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2014, up from approximately 30% of advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2013." source: Facebook statement