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.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Amazon's Recruitment Drive Pays Off

Amazon forecast net sales of between 106 billion and 112 billion US dollars for the third quarter of 2021. That would represent year-on-year growth of between 10% and 16% and is based on a favourable impact of approximately 70 basis points from foreign exchange rates.

That represents a marked slowdown from the 24% year-on-year growth  (at constant currencies) that Amazon experienced in the second quarter. Brian Olsavsky, CFO of Amazon, explained that the slowdown will be driven by the dynamics of the pandemic. "By mid-May of last year, we [had] made good progress to open up more capacity by adding hundreds of thousands of employees," he said. "This allowed our revenue growth rate to jump to the 35% to 45% range and remained at that level through Q1 of this year when we had 41% growth. In Q2 of this year, we began to comp this high sales period from last year, and the year-over-year revenue growth rate has narrowed. It has also narrowed as vaccines become more readily available in many countries and people are getting out of their homes."

"Since May 15, again, excluding Prime Day, our year-over-year growth rate has dropped into the mid-teens. Our Q3 revenue guidance range of 10% to 16% growth reflects an expected continuation of this trend. Given all this volatility, it's useful to consider the two-year compounded annual growth rate, which remains strong in the 25% to 30% range. Recall this compares to our pre-pandemic growth rate of 21%." 

Amazon now employs almost 1.34 million people, up 52% year-on-year. Source: Transcript of Amazon Q2 conference call

Comcast Rides Return of Advertising

Boosted by the return of advertising and demand for connectivity, Comcast reported a 20% year-on-year rise in revenues to 28.5 billion US dollars for the second quarter of 2021. It said that broadband revenue climbed 14% to 5.7 billion dollars, while media revenue was up almost 26% to 5.1 billion dollars. 

Sky, the European broadcast unit, reported a 15% rise in revenues at constant currencies to 5.2 billion  dollars for the quarter. Source: Comcast statements

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Tesla Charges Ahead

Tesla reported a 98% year-on-year rise in revenue for the second quarter to almost 12 billion US dollars. Automotive revenues were up 97% thanks to a 121% rise in vehicle deliveries. Tesla said: "Public sentiment and support for electric vehicles seems to be at a never-before-seen inflection point."

The volume of solar power generation and power storage (key components of Tesla's broader electric proposition) deployed by Tesla both rose by more than 200%. 

However, Tesla appeared to acknowledge that the development of self-driving vehicles is proving difficult, even though it is able to collect data on how its customers are driving its cars. Tesla said: "We successfully launched Tesla Vision (its camera-based autopilot system) in Q2, which was mainly possible due to our ability to use data from over a million Tesla vehicles to source a large, diverse and accurate dataset. Solving full autonomy is a difficult engineering challenge in which we continue to believe can only be solved through the collection of large, real-world datasets and cutting-edge AI." Source: Tesla statement

Alphabet Reports Blow-out Quarter

Boosted by a "rising tide of online consumer and business activity", Alphabet reported a 57% year-on-year rise in revenues at constant currencies to 61.9 billion US dollars for the second quarter of 2021. Google search and other advertising revenues were up 68% (with currency movements) to 35.8 billion dollars. YouTube advertising revenues of 7 billion dollars, were up 84%.

Alphabet reported that its experimental self-driving vehicle unit Waymo continues to grow. "People love the fully autonomous ride hailing service in Phoenix," Sundar Pichai, CEO Alphabet and Google, said. "Since first launching its services to the public in October 2020, Waymo has safely served tens of thousands of rides without a human driver in the vehicle, and we look forward to many more."

In response to analyst questions, Pichai added: "We've had very good experience by scaling up rides. These are driverless rides and no one is in the car other than the passengers. And people have had a very positive experience overall. We're obviously – with a strong focus on safety, we're looking to scale it up. Through it all, we are building newer capabilities as well, investing in next generation of hardware and software. So it's an iterative process, and at each step it's very clear to us that we are ahead and we are making progress. And you'll see us continue to invest here with a focus on safety first. And I expect us to scale up more through the course of 2022." Source: Transcript of Alphabet earnings call

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Vodafone Lifted by Recovery and Africa

Vodafone reported a 5.6% organic year-on-year rise in group revenues for the quarter ending June 30 to 11.1 billion euros. Service revenues climbed 3.3%, as European economies recovered from the disruption-caused by the pandemic.

Vodafone said that Vodacom, its African subsidiary, saw service revenue rise almost 8%. "In Africa, we are the leading provider of mobile data and mobile payment services," Vodafone said. "Our M-Pesa financial services platform grew strongly. During the quarter, the platform processed almost 4.5 billion transactions, an increase of 45% year-on-year. The VodaPay ‘super-app’ will be launched in South Africa, with over 70 merchants already joining the eco-system." Source: Vodafone statement

Friday, July 23, 2021

AT&T Expects Better Bounce Back

Thanks to strong momentum in its wireless, fibre and video streaming businesses, AT&T now expects to achieve revenue growth of between 2% and 3% in 2021, up from its earlier guidance of 1%. It anticipates that wireless service revenues will now rise by 3%, rather than 2%.

The revised forecasts came after AT&T reported year-on-year revenue growth of 7.6% for the second quarter to 44 billion US dollars - its best second quarter performance for 10 years. Revenues in its Communications segment rose by 6.1%, while WarnerMedia revenues were up 31%, driven by higher content sales, subscription and advertising revenues. 

However, AT&T is in the process of spinning WarnerMedia off into a separate independent company, which will see the entertainment, sports and news assets merge with Discovery's non-fiction and international entertainment and sports businesses. Source: AT&T statements