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Telecom Network Operators: Review of the Market in Q4, 2018 - ResearchAndMarkets.com

September 10, 2019

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 10, 2019--

The “Telecom Network Operators: 4Q18 Market Review” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

This market review provides a comprehensive assessment of the global telecommunications industry based on financial results through December 2018 (4Q18). The report tracks revenue, capex and employee for 130 individual telecommunications network operators (TNOs). For a sub-group of 40 large TNOs, the report also assesses labor cost, opex and operating profit trends. Our coverage timeframe spans 1Q11-4Q18 (32 quarters). The report’s format is Excel.

Abstract

The telecom industry has changed drastically over the last decade, as demand for data continues to surge due to smartphone adoption and increasingly ubiquitous mobile broadband infrastructure. TNOs have diversified their service offerings and overhauled their operations to meet rising data demand. They have invested heavily in their networks, employees, and acquisitions. Many are engaged in whole-company initiatives around “digital transformation.”

Their efforts have delivered an incredible range of services to billions of users. But the sector’s health is mixed: operating margins are at best stable, top-line revenues for the sector remain challenged, and TNO capex requirements remain high due to 5G and fiber. Further, telcos need to manage their own internal labor costs carefully. These remain nearly 16% of revenues; even those telcos engaged in layoffs are also hiring new staff to cope with new technologies and changing market demand. There are also concerns of a looming recession. Telcos face an uncertain future.

Key Findings

1. The long-term revenue growth rate of the telecom sector is in the 0-2% range. In 4Q18, growth was -0.2% on a fixed (constant) exchange rate basis. Actual revenue growth in 4Q18 was lower, down 2.4% YoY to $456B. .

2. Even the modest growth currently achieved by the telecom sector requires high levels of capital investment in networks. The industry’s long-term capex to revenue ratio (capital intensity) is in the 16-18% range, on average. Telcos also use M&A to expand into adjacent markets; AT&T-Time Warner is just one example. The debt from such deals can drive up the operator’s interest payments and make it harder to fund capex, however.

3. On a revenue per employee basis, the telco sector has been stagnant since 2011: the figure was $360K that year, and averaging $353K for the last four quarters. Labor costs per employee grew 2% in 2018 to $55.5K.

4. Telcos employed 5.2 million people in 2018, just up 1.3% YoY. We expect employee totals to begin declining in the next 1-2 years. India alone may cut up to 100K employees in that timeframe, due to Jio’s consolidation & BSNL reforms.

5. Capex for 2018 was 16.4% of revenues, in line with 2017. The highest it has been since 2011 was 17.8% in 2015, when 4G buildouts were still important; there is opportunity for growth.

6. Telco network investments rose for the first three quarters of 2018, but a quiet fourth quarter left 2018 telco capex at $301B, just 1.3% higher than 2017. The weak 4Q18 result of $83.9B (down 3.4% YoY) does not bode well for 2019. The slowdown could be due to operator caution about market demand. Yet competitive realities will require operators to spend big on 5G and fiber in 2019-20. The market’s average capital intensity will exceed 17% by the end of this year.

7. The M&A climate remains strong for the sector in 2018. Noteworthy deals include the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, Comcast’s acquisition of Sky, the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular; and Vodafone’s $18B acquisition of Liberty Global’s Germany and Eastern Europe cable and broadband assets.

8. TNOs recorded strong profits but average annualized operating margins have been flat and hovering at around 13% over the last 11 quarters. Labor costs are one driver: annualized labor costs per employee have been rising, up 4.5% in 2018 to $55.4K (from $53.1K in 2016). As 5G approaches, TNOs will keep up the pressure on their staff spending. They will also continue to look for ways to reduce customer acquisition & retention costs, through both technology investments & business partnerships.

Key Topics Covered

1. Abstract

2. Analysis

3. Single-company drilldowns

4. Key stats through 4Q18

5. Operator rankings

6. Rev, capex and headcount

7. Deep dive cost analysis

8. Subs & traffic

9. Exchange rates

10. About (including methodology)

Companies Mentioned

List of Figures & Charts

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/rtnkxr

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190910005551/en/

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KEYWORD:

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS TELECOMMUNICATIONS

SOURCE: Research and Markets

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 09/10/2019 07:07 AM/DISC: 09/10/2019 07:07 AM

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