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:

USA’s mobile operators fast-tracking 5G developments

The US has one of the largest telecoms markets, which has given it a unique character based only regional licensing. Growth in the mobile subscriber base remains strong despite penetration levels of above 120%. Declining revenue from voice services is compensated for by high growth in mobile data use, itself supported by upgraded networks supporting LTE-based services. Smartphone penetration is also high, which also encourages mobile data use among subscribers. A number of operators, led by AT&T, have partnered with vendors to trial 5G technologies and services. AT&T aimed to develop commercial 5G services by late 2018, which would make it one of the firs carriers globally to do so. In addition, operators are working on the potential of NB-IoT, LTE-U and LTE-A technologies, in some respects as a precursor to 5G.

A major development in early 2017 was the complex reserve auction for spectrum in the 600MHz band, which raised more than $19 billion. Although network operators must wait for spectrum allocations to be concluded, the additional 70MHz made available will go far to supporting mobile broadband in rural areas, and improving network capacity.

Given the size of the US market, and the growing demand for data on both fixed and mobile networks, there is continuous pressure for operators to invest in fibre networks, and to push connectivity closer to consumers. In recent years the US has seen increased activity from regional players as well as the major telcos and cablecos. Much of this activity was stimulated by Google Fiber following its investments in a number of markets. Although Google Fiber began scaling back its efforts in late 2016, the company’s legacy has been profound. It encouraged the major providers to reduce pricing for their similar offers, stimulated interest among municipal leaders, and highlighted the fact that haphazard and potentially duplicated fibre deployments are no effective substitute for municipally-led wholesale fibre infrastructure accessable to any provider.

AT&T and Verizon have shifted their investment efforts from a hybrid fibre-copper architecture to pure fibre. AT&T expected to provide a 1Gb/s FttP service to 12.5 million premises by 2019, with a view to upgrading to XG(S)-PON within a few years. For its part, Verizon had a patchy experience with its FttN rollouts and so has chosen to switch deployment to FttP. At the same time a growing number of cablecos have launched DOCSIS3.1 services, able to provide data at 1Gb/s and above. Future HFC technologies promise considerably faster speeds in the years ahead.

This report provides analyses as well as key statistics and forecasts on the US mobile market, including CTIA data for 2015, telcos’ financial and operating data to Q4 2016 and recent market releases from the regulator. It also provides an assessment of telcos’ strategies, regulatory policies, and developments in the deployment of emerging technologies. The report also reviews the cable, DSL, Wi-Fi, WiMAX and fibre broadband markets, providing analyses on regulatory measures and an assessment of the major fibre deployments in progress.

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

 

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Luxembourg on track to becoming Europe’s first fibred country

Overall revenue from electronic communications services in Luxembourg has increased steadily in recent years, though it fell in 2014 before showing a moderate recovery in 2015. Declining revenue in 2014 was partly caused by the effects of regulatory measures on areas such as interconnection tariffs and roaming charges, as also by lower consumer use of fixed-line voice services and by the prevalence of VoIP/VoBB over traditional PSTN lines.

Nevertheless, the market is adjusting to these pressures. In recent years the incumbent telco POST Telecom (formerly P&T Luxembourg) has concentrated on cloud and managed services, as well as on offering bundled packages. The company by early 2016 offered a 100Mb/s service nationally, while the footprint of its 1Gb/s service is making gains. This work is in line with the government’s program to provide a 1Gb/s service to all citizens by 2020, and to make Luxembourg the first fully fibred country in Europe.

Investment in infrastructure is being encouraged by these ambitions, and as a result investment in both fixed line and mobile networks has increased considerably in recent years. Apart from benefitting domestic customers, fibre-based broadband availability within the Duchy is also attracting international companies seeking high-end connectivity.

POST Telecom remains the dominant player in all market sectors, despite the telecoms market having been liberalised in 1998. Regulatory measures during the last few years have encouraged broadband competition through local loop unbundling, yet the proportion of unbundled lines remains relatively low.

High mobile penetration has slowed subscriber growth in the mobile market since 2005. Partly as a result of fixed-mobile substitution, Luxembourg has one of the lowest fixed-line densities in Europe.

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

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Montenegro’s spectrum auctions supporting LTE growth

Montenegro continues to make steady progress in its ambition to join the European Union and NATO, and so further integrate itself with its main trading partners. As part of the EU accession process the country has received financial aid to build public institutions and improve cross-border co-operation under the EU funding mechanism Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance. The telecom sector has also been aligned with EU norms, which has opened up the market to competition and guided the development of elements such as access and tariff structures.

Fixed broadband services are available via a variety of technology platforms including DSL, cable, leased line, fibre and wireless. The fibre sector has shown particularly strong growth since 2010 as the incumbent has invested in infrastructure upgrades, albeit mainly to serve apartment blocks in the main towns. DSL is also strong given the legacy reach of the incumbent’s copper network, coupled with its existing market presence and range of service offerings that include broadband TV.

Mobile penetration is particularly high, though this is partly due to the significant number of tourists visiting the country seasonally, as also to the popularity of subscribers having multiple prepaid cards Networks based on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE technologies have been launched, while investment in LTE technologies have made mobile broadband a viable alternative to fixed-line broadband in many rural areas. Recent multi-band spectrum auctions have stipulated that mobile broadband should be made available to 95% of the population by mid-2018. Network upgrades have formed the basis for new and expanding mobile broadband services.

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

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Haiti again turns attention to digital broadcasting

Haiti’s economic and social indicators remain far lower than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The recent years of political and economic turmoil and natural disasters, most recently Hurricane Matthew which hit the island in August 2016, have stifled most sectors of the economy, including the telecoms sector which remains one of the least developed in the world. The regulator reported that Hurricane Matthew caused about $35 million in damage to equipment owned by Natcom, Digicel and Access Haiti.

In the internet market, poor fixed-line infrastructure obliged most businesses to rely on satellite and wireless technologies. However, the launch of services by Natcom in late 2011 has provided a significant boost to the sector. The company in subsequent years built three international gateways and quadrupled international connectivity. As a result broadband services are much more readily available, and Natcom has become a wholesale provider for the small number of other ISPs in the market. Nevertheless, there remain significant barriers to fixed-line broadband development, not least of which is the low income level among the majority of the population, low PC penetration and the perennial problem of equipment theft. Although Natcom has built a fibre backbone running to dome 6,500km, which is steadily growing fixed-line broadband sector, practical challenges mean that for the majority people and businesses connectivity is achieved through mobile networks.

Natcom also introduced a competitive boost to the mobile sector in 2011, though this was set back to some degree by the Digicel Group’s acquisition of the number two player Voilà, and the integration of the latter’s mobile network in late 2012. With the collapse of the third operator HaiTel in mid-2013, this left Digicel with about 74% market share of subscribers. Nevertheless, the economies of scale together with Digicel’s interest in promoting LTE as well as innovative mobile data services such as mobile banking should considerably improve internet connectivity in rural areas in coming years, and enable communities to make greater use of internet services where fixed-line infrastructure remains inadequate.

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

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Greece’s telcos secure multi-million Euro loans to build out NGNs

Greece’s telecoms market has undergone some very tough economic conditions in recent years, leading to lower sector revenue and investment. Operators across the board have seen gross profits tumble, and the continuing economic turmoil will make market conditions particularly tough during the next few years. The dominant player remains the incumbent telco Cosmote (OTE). The company has experienced significant challenges, but is supported by the organisational ability and financial clout of its parent Deutsche Telekom. Despite market liberalisation, Cosmote continues to dominate all sectors in the market.

The telecom regulator EETT has shown increasing success in promoting competition, with local loop unbundling well utilised to deliver competing fixed-line services. Promoting competition has become one of the EC’s conditions for Greece’s financial bailouts. In February 2017 access for competitors was extended to Cosmote vectoring VDSL infrastructure.

The main broadband operators have recently secured loans to enable them to build fibre-based next generation networks and so reach European broadband targets by 2020. The slowly increasing consumer take up of broadband services and a steady deployment of faster VDSL infrastructure has in turn encouraged the development of a range of IP services including streaming videostreaming.

Greece’s well-developed mobile market is dominated by the three mobile network operators Wind Hellas, Vodafone Greece and Cosmote. Tariffs have fallen in recent years as a result of competition and regulatory mandated reductions in MTRs. Operators have invested in LTE infrastructure and technologies including carrier aggregation to provide networks capable of meeting customer demand for data services. This in turn is helping the operators to grow revenue and offset declining revenue from voice and SMS services. Wind Hellas and Vodafone have a mobile network sharing deal in place, and have also partnered to develop a large-scale fibre-based fixed-line NGN.

This report introduces the key aspects of the Greek fixed-line telecoms, wholesale and IT markets, outlining the regulatory environment, assessing the major players and providing relevant operational data and financial statistics on both the operators and the market. The report also reviews the mobile market, covering regulatory and market developments as well as financial and operating statistics for the key players. In addition the report analyses the fixed and wireless broadband markets, providing an assessment of developments relating to vectoring VDSL and fibre networks as well as subscriber forecasts to 2022.

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

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