Henry Lancaster, Senior Analyst, BuddeComm


Henry Lancaster, Senior Analyst, BuddeComm

Henry arrived from the UK in 2002. His research background includes nine years as a university lecturer, followed by freelance work in a range of fields. He jointly set up a software company in 1998, providing CRM solutions to customers worldwide. Henry joined our research team in 2005 and is responsible for the European countries.

Posts by Henry:

Brazil’s government approves additional funding for National Broadband Plan

Supported by a population of some 204 million, the Brazilian telecoms market is among the largest in Latin America. Telecoms revenue has been adversely affected by the ongoing economic crisis which has dented consumer confidence and reduced spend on services.

The country’s telecom infrastructure will be significantly augmented during the next two years as additional submarine cables become ready for service. In addition, the government-owned SGDC satellite, due to be launched in March 2017, will provide defence communications for the Ministry of Defence as well as broadband services to support the National Broadband Plan (PNBL), a project which recently secured additional funding.

Substantial investments and regulatory reforms were implemented before the FIFA World Cup was held in 2014 and again before the 2016 Olympic Games. The Games stimulated investment in infrastructure, though the chief beneficiaries were the host cities rather than the country at large.

The fixed-line market has been hit by consumers substituting services for mobile and VoIP solutions. The broadband market is also one of the largest markets in the region, though broadband penetration is only slightly above the Latin American average, trailing behind neighbouring Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. The mobile market is dominated by the four network operators Vivo, Claro, TIM and Oi. All four secured spectrum in the 2.5GHz band with which they are expanding their LTE networks and so capitalising on consumer demand for mobile data services. The government has also sanctioned the use of the 700MHz band – previously allocated to TV broadcasters – for mobile broadband use, though the spectrum will not be fully released by broadcasters until further into 2017.

The mobile subscriber base grew rapidly for a number of years, in line with the increasing footprint of mobile networks, but since late 2015 the number of subscribers has fallen sharply. This was partly due to operators cancelling dormant SIM cards, as also to pricing competition which eroded the need among some consumers to hold SIM cards from different providers and so take advantage of cheaper on-net offers. Another factor has been the economic recession.

A new BuddeComm report provides detail on Brazil’s telecom market, including an assessment of infrastructure developments and the regulatory environment. It profiles the main fixed-line operators and examines their strategies in the light of relevant company financial and operating statistics. The report also reviews the digital media and broadband markets, accompanied by analyses and broadband scenario forecasts to 2021. In addition the report examines the mobile voice and data market, including a range of statistics and analyses, as also scenario forecasts.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Brazil – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media – Statistics and Analyses

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Mexico contracts Altan to operate wholesale mobile network

With a population of around 121 million and a fixed-line teledensity of around 18% Mexico’s telecom sector retains significant potential for growth over the next few years. The fixed-line market is still dominated by the incumbent Telmex, with about 62% market share, while the mobile market is dominated by Telmex’s sister company Telcel, both being owned by América Móvil. However, telecom reform laws passed in recent years will go far to making Mexico’s telecom market more competitive.

The mobile market is undergoing considerable changes in the wake of efforts to curb the market dominance of Telcel, the entry of AT&T Mexico following its acquisition of Nextel Mexico and Iusacell, and the greater competitive role being played by MVNOs. Telcel still accounts for about 66% of the market by subscribers, though it is in the process of selling assets to reduce its share to below 50%. The regulator has also endeavoured to encourage competition through issuing additional spectrum. In January 2017 the Altan consortium was contracted to manage a wholesale mobile network for 20 years, aimed at delivering mobile voice and data to underserved areas. The network is to be made available for use from March 2018. Separately, the regulator February 2017 published a plan to auction up to 130MHz of spectrum in the 2.5GHz band later in the year, geared to improving mobile broadband services.

The broadband sector is one of the highest growth areas in Mexico’s telecoms market, although it suffers from a lack of competition to the dominant player Telmex, which still accounts for the lion’s share of subscribers. The pay TV sector is similarly concentrated, with Grupo Televisa the dominant player in the cable TV sector as also in the satellite TV sector, where it is a major shareholder in Sky Mexico.

A new BuddeComm report provides statistics and analyses on Mexico’s fixed-line market, as well as an overview of regulatory developments. In addition the report covers the mobile market, including a range statistical data as well as subscriber forecasts to 2021, as well as an assessment of the broadband and internet markets, including technology developments and the migration to fibre infrastructure.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Mexico – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media – Statistics and Analyses

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France’s telecom sector shows strong return to investment

France has the third largest telecoms market in Europe after Germany and the UK. The incumbent telco Orange Group is one of the world’s major players with interests in markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The company recently embarked on its five-year ‘Essentials 2020’ program which is focussed on emerging markets as well as on investments in super-fast broadband and LTE infrastructure within its European footprint. Despite market liberalisation, the company still dominates all sectors though increasing competition from a number of major players (notably SFR Group and Iliad) has gradually eroded this lead, prompting it to respond with a range of innovative offers and wide-ranging strategies to meet future customer needs. It is also investing in a national fibre network, largely in response to the activities of smaller players.

In the broadband market subscriber growth has been bolstered by demand for high bandwidth applications, prompting considerable investment in fibre infrastructure among telcos and regional governments. The pro-competitive regulator has also promoted access to Orange’s DSL network and fibre networks for new entrants. In early 2017 the regulator considered a range of measures to improve access to Orange’s networks.

DSL still dominates the broadband market in terms of access lines, though in 2016 the number of DSL lines began to fall for the first time as customers were migrated to fibre infrastructure. Fibre deployments have grown substantially in recent years, with all of the major ISPs concentrating their investments in fibre with a view to promoting 1Gb/s services. Although the cable footprint only reaches about 40% of the population, the dominant cableco SFR Group has upgraded its network to compete with DSL and has itself entered the DSL and fibre markets. By September 2016 SFR had 1.97 million customers served by fibre.

The French mobile phone market is also one of the largest in Europe. The network operators Orange, SFR Group, Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile have invested in network infrastructure and technologies in recent years. LTE-A providing data at above 300Mb/s had extensive coverage by early 2017, while both Orange and Bouygues Telecom are involved in 5G trials. The regulator has also been supportive, having licensed spectrum in the 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz bands since mid-2016. In early 2017 it opened a consultation with a view to releasing spectrum in these bands for mobile broadband use while retaining a portion of the 3.5G band for 5G in anticipation of that technology coming into commercial use from about 2018. The mobile sector is dominated by four providers, complemented by an increasing number of MVNOs which together had a market share of around 11% of subscribers by early 2017.

This report introduces the key aspects of France’s telecom market, providing updated statistics on the country’s fixed network, an analysis of operator strategies, and a review of the key regulatory issues including the status of number portability, wholesaling and carrier preselection. In addition the report assesses the fixed broadband market, focussing on cable, DSL and the fast-developing FttP/C sectors. It reviews the strategies of the principal providers such as Orange, Iliad and SFR Group, and considers the regulatory status of LLU and access to fibre infrastructure. The report also evaluates the mobile voice and data markets, assessing recent developments related to spectrum licensing and regulatory issues and providing profiles of the major players and MVNOs, including statistics on their operating and financial performance as well as their strategies in an increasingly fierce competitive market.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: France – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media – Statistics and Analyses

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Italian government awards €1.4 billion contract to extend fibre-based broadband

Italy’s large telecom market boasts one of the highest rates for mobile penetration in Europe, while the fibre-optic sector has seen significant development in recent years, both in operator investment and in regulatory measures to widen the availability of superfast broadband services. Broadband uptake is growing steadily as a result of fibre and ADSL2+ infrastructure upgrades, though the country still lags behind benchmark countries for average broadband access speeds. The government is investing €4 billion to provide superfast broadband across the country, with a major contract recently awarded to the utility Enel to roll out fibre in six regions.

The vibrant mobile market has undergone considerable changes since 2016. For some years it was dominated by three operators, TIM, Vodafone Italia and Wind, with the fourth player 3 Italia having steadily made progress with securing customers to its network. The owners of 3 Italia and Wind in mid-2015 agreed to merge their units, a process which gained regulatory clearance in October 2016. The new merged entity, trading as Wind Tre, began offering services in January 2017. As a result of the merger the market gained a new entrant in the form of Iliad, which secured access to spectrum and to Wind Tre’s infrastructure to enable it to offer services while its own network is being developed.

All providers operate LTE networks, and significant investments in network upgrades have led to considerable growth in mobile data and high-end applications. Telecom Italia has also trialled LTE broadcast technology and is cooperating with Huawei and Ericsson to develop a platform for 5G services.

This report analyses the key aspects of the Italian telecom market, providing the latest data and statistics on the country and the fixed network services sector. It also reviews the key regulatory issues including number portability and local loop unbundling. In addition, the report assesses the broadband market, including the burgeoning fibre sector, regulatory measures aimed at increasing the availability of services, and the status of government infrastructure in the sector. It also provides broadband forecasts to 2021. The report reviews the mobile market, including statistics, key regulatory issues, an assessment of mobile data services and an evaluation of the market following the merger of Wind and 3 Italia and the market entry of Iliad.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Italy – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media – Statistics and Analyses

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UK government adds to private sector investment for fibre broadband

The UK’s telecom market, one of the largest in Europe, is characterised by fierce competition in the mobile and broadband sectors. This has helped push up service penetration while helping to reduce consumer prices across the board. Network capabilities have also been greatly expanded following investments by the two principal telcos British Telecom and Virgin Media. Other operators including TalkTalk Group and Sky have made considerable effort to expand their quad-play offerings and so enable them to compete more effectively.

The mobile market is served by major providers which also have a significant international presence. Recent merger activity has seen dramatic consolidation in the market and has had knock-on effects for network infrastructure deals struck between them in recent years. The merger of Orange and T-Mobile created EE as the largest operator, which in January 2016 was sold to BT, becoming a separate business unit within BT Group. The bid by Hutchison to acquire O2 was rejected by the European Commission in May 2016 on the grounds that the deal would have reduced the number of MNOs to three, and so impacted on market competition. Later in the year the broadcaster Sky joined the market through its Sky Mobile offering, while a growing number of low-cost MVNOs provide effective price and service competition for subscribers.

Anticipated auctions for spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands will see more bandwidth made available for mobile broadband services, supported by regulatory moves which allow the refarming of 2G spectrum for 3G and 4G use. This spectrum is also being allocated for 5G use, while operators continue to trial 5G technologies with a number of key vendor partners.

The broadband market enjoys excellent cross-platform competition. DSL infrastructure is comprehensively available, while the main cable operator Virgin Media, owned by Liberty Global, aims to increase its footprint to cover about two-thirds of premises by 2019. The DSL network has been upgraded during the last few years with VDSL and Long Reach VDSL technologies, while British Telecom is also introducing G.fast as part of its multi-technology mix to provide ultra-fast broadband services to some 12 million premises by 2020. Virgin Media has also entered the fibre market, aiming to provide FttP to about one million customers while most of the remainder will eventually be serviced with the new DOCSIS3.1 standard. Openreach’s wholesale FttP service covered some 327,000 premises by the end of 2016 and is expected to reach over two million by the end of 2020.

For its part, the government has committed to invest over £1 billion in broadband infrastructure through new investment funds, including £400 million in rolling out FttP services.

This report provides analyses on the key aspects of the UK’s telecom market, presenting statistics on the fixed network services sector and an overview of the key regulatory issues. The report also surveys the mobile market, providing an overview of mobile statistics, an assessment of emerging technologies and services, and profiles of the major operators and MVNOs. In addition the report covers the broadband and digital media markets, including data on broadband technologies, and an assessment of regulatory matters and operator strategies aimed at delivering superfast broadband capabilities.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: UK – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media – Statistics and Analyses

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