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.

Monday, April 29, 2024

AT&T Talks up Fibre, Talks down FWA

AT&T reiterated its forecast of 3% growth in wireless service revenues and 7% growth in broadband revenues in 2024, despite a fall of 0.4% in group revenues in the first quarter of 2024 to 30 billion US dollars (even with a favourable impact from foreign exchange rates in Mexico). The US telco blamed the fall on lower "mobility equipment" revenues and lower business wireline revenues. 

AT&T also reiterated that it plans to make capital investments of between 21 billion and 22 billion dollars in 2024, down from 23.6 billion in 2023. However, the 2023 figure included 5.7 billion of cash payments for vendor financing (debt repayments). 

"We continue to invest in key growth areas, given the compelling returns on these investments," said Pascal Desroches, CFO of AT&T. "In mobility, we are focused on modernising our network through our Open RAN initiative. And with fibre, we remain on track to pass 30 million-plus consumer and business locations by the end of 2025....As we've stated before, the better-than-expected returns we're seeing on our fibre investment potentially expands the opportunity to go beyond our initial target by roughly 10 million to 15 million additional locations." 

Explaining AT&T's preference for delivering fibre broadband over fixed wireless access (FWA) to residential properties, CEO John Stankey added: "Wireless networks aren't particularly the best place to take the single-family home that streams hours and hours of video a day and try to serve them with a kind of $50 a month product or service." Source: AT&T collateral

Friday, April 26, 2024

Alphabet Forecasts 50% Rise in Capex

Alphabet, owner of Google, indicated it will spend 48 billon US dollars on capex in 2024, up from 32.3 billion dollars in 2023. CFO Ruth Porat said that its reported capex in the first quarter of 12 billion dollars was "once again driven overwhelmingly by investment in our technical infrastructure, with the largest component for servers, followed by data centres. The significant year-on-year growth in capex in recent quarters reflects our confidence in the opportunities offered by AI across our business."

Alphabet also noted that YouTube surpassed 100 million Music and Premium subscribers globally, including trialers, while YouTube TV now has more than eight million paid subscribers. It also confirmed that "Waymo’s fully autonomous service continues to grow ridership in San Francisco and Phoenix, with high customer satisfaction; and we started offering paid rides in Los Angeles, and testing rider-only trips in Austin." source: Alphabet collateral

Verizon Continues FWA Growth

Reporting revenue growth of 0.2% to almost 33 billion US dollars in the first quarter, Verizon said that it added 151,000 fixed wireless access (FWA) business customers and 203,000 FWA consumer customers. But wireless equipment revenues fell almost 7%.

Overall, broadband net adds were 389,000, including 53,000 Fios (fibre) Internet net adds. In total, Verizon completed the  quarter with more than 11.1 million broadband subscribers, including over 3.4 million on FWA. "We've now added more than three million broadband subscribers in the last two years alone," noted CEO Hans Vestberg. Source: Verizon collateral

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Meta Ramps Up AI Investment

Meta forecast that its full-year 2024 capital expenditures will be in the range of 35-40 billion US dollars, up from 28 billion dollars in 2023, and up from its previous forecast range of 30-37 billion dollars. As it plans to further accelerate its infrastructure investments to support its AI roadmap, Meta also intends to increase capex in 2025.

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta's CEO, said his company "should invest significantly more over the coming years to build even more advanced models and the largest scale AI services in the world." He predicted that AI-enabled glasses will be "a really important platform for the future."

The outlook for smart glasses "has improved quite a bit because previously we thought that that would need to wait until we have these full holographic displays to be a large market. And now we're a lot more focused on the glasses that we're delivering in partnership with Ray-Ban," Zuckerberg added, noting that those glasses "continue to do well and are sold out in many styles and colours." This product, which resembles conventional glasses, lack a built-in display, but are equipped with a camera, microphones and speakers to enable a wearer to query an AI system running in the cloud.

"If we want everyone to be able to use wearable AI, I think eyewear is a bit different from phones or watches in that people are going to want very different designs," Zuckerberg opined. "So I think our approach of partnering with leading eyewear brands will help us serve more of the market." Source: Meta collateral

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Orange Sees Strong Growth in Africa

Orange reported a 2.1% year-on-year rise in revenues on a comparable basis for the first quarter of 2024 to 9.58 billion euros. The company said Africa & Middle East was the main contributor to this growth, with revenues rising11.1% (or +185 million euros) led by a robust performance in voice and double-digit increases in its four growth engines (+15.7% in mobile data, +20.6% in fixed broadband, +23.5% at Orange Money and +14.1% in B2B across all activities).

Revenues in France increased 0.8% (+35 million euros) thanks to growth in retail services, while sales in other European markets declined 2% (-35 million euros). Source: Orange statement

Tesla Steps Up Capital Spending

Tesla increased its capital spending by 34% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024 to 2.8 billion US dollars. "While many are pulling back on their investments, we are investing in future growth – including our AI infrastructure, production capacity, our Supercharger and service networks and new products infrastructure," the company said.

Tesla reiterated its belief that a scalable and profitable autonomous vehicle business can be realised through a vision-only architecture with end-to-end neural networks, trained on billions of miles of real-world data. "Since the launch of FSD (Supervised) V12 earlier this year, it has become clear that this architecture long pursued by Tesla is the right solution for scalable autonomy," the company said, while reporting its first quarter results.

Tesla has rolled out FSD (Supervised), which now costs 99 US dollars a month, with a 30-day free trial to eligible cars in U.S. and Canada. It claims the system can change lanes, select forks to follow routes, navigate around vehicles and objects and make turns, as well as park the vehicle. "We are currently working on ride-hailing functionality that will be available in the future," Tesla added.  Source: Tesla collateral

Thursday, April 18, 2024

India and US Cutbacks Drag Down Ericsson

Ericsson's networks business reported a 19% organic fall in revenue to 33.7 billion Swedish krona (3.07 billion US dollars) year-on-year for the first quarter of 2024. It blamed reduced operator investment across a number of geographies, but said the sales decline was most pronounced in South East Asia, Oceania and India, with a decrease of 42%. "This was primarily due to a reduction in capex investments in India, after record-high investment levels in 2023, as well as a year-on-year decrease in sales in the Philippines and Malaysia due to timing of project milestones in Q1 2023," Ericsson added. 

Ericsson's network sales in North America declined by 23% year-on-year, reflecting a lower level of 5G capex. But sales increased in Middle East and Africa, driven by a second wave of 5G investments across several markets. IPR licensing revenues also increased. Source: Ericsson statement