VMO2 ended 2023 with strong ARPU and EBITDA growth, meeting its (revised) guidance for the full year, but saw receding subscriber momentum across both fixed and mobile.
2024 will be much tougher across the industry and for VMO2 in particular, with its revenue expected to be flat at best, and waning boosts from price rises and synergies coupled with a series of technical factors shrinking EBITDA.
The company has promised new commercial initiatives in 2024, and thereafter we see strong potential in it maximizing the use of its network and retail arms via breaking the long-standing lock between them, although the formation of NetCo is neither a necessary nor sufficient step for this.
Reports of the "death of the metaverse" are greatly exaggerated. The scope of investment across metaverse-friendly technologies and experiences remains robust, although aggressive global competition in the AI sector could cause speed bumps.
VR, XR, and spatial computing will see a renaissance in 2024, renewing interest from developers as well as major media and entertainment. Gaming continues to be a major driver of the metaverse, with clear opportunity for new major services to compete against Fortnite and Roblox.
The building blocks are therefore all in place for the next consumer growth phase. Scaling the metaverse will be dependent on consistent and sustained trials, and more engagement from media and entertainment beyond games.
Prepared for The Metaverse Society by Enders Analysis.
According to press reports, VMO2 is in early stage discussions over buying TalkTalk’s consumer retail broadband business, but not its wholesale business, which may leave the latter in limbo.
There is strong industrial logic to the deal, with a sub-brand useful, and significant synergies from moving the TalkTalk base to VMO2’s network, with the latter gain at Openreach’s expense.
There would be major regulatory hurdles for the deal, with concerns on both a retail and wholesale level, and particularly the future of the altnets, with any deal likely having to protect this.