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European mobile revenue growth and outlook Q3 2012: Nadir not yet reached, can 4G help?

December 2012

European mobile market service revenue growth dropped again in Q3, by 1.9ppts to -6.2%. This was not helped by a substantial increase in the MTR impact, driven by a big cut in Italy, but underlying revenue growth still fell by 1.3ppts In stark contrast to Europe, the US mobile market continues to grow apace, with there being over 10ppts between the growth rates of the two regions. The most obvious difference between the markets is the very much higher levels of capex spent by the US incumbents, which drives their superior network quality and coverage, and hence price premia, and hence superior growth The European incumbents have not (yet) used their greater ability to spend on capex to increase the spending gap with smaller operators, with 4G launches (mostly) being low profile with low initial coverage (the UK being a notable exception to this). While this is an understandable approach given the prevailing macroeconomic conditions, it does mean that closing the growth gap with the US remains a distant prospect

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