UK mobile market Q4 2013: Bouncing up

13 March 2014

UK mobile market service revenue growth improved on both a reported and underlying basis by 1.2ppts in Q4, a very welcome result after six consecutive quarters of declining underlying growth. Reported revenue is still in decline, at -1.6%, but it is the most modest decline among larger European countries, and compares to -5.0% in early 2013 EE is still leading in 4G coverage and performance, with around twice the coverage of its nearest rivals of basic 4G, double speed 4G now covering around 30% of the population, and plans for quadruple speed 4G to launch in 2014. Vodafone may prove the biggest network challenger going forward, with plans to increase capex as part of its Project Spring initiative Maintaining (or increasing) the current level of pricing is key to the industry returning to revenue growth in 2014. We would note that the smallest operator, H3G, is fairly unlikely to return to being a price discounter and put pressure on market prices, leaving the onus on the ‘big 3’ to stay disciplined, with a small but significant risk from SIM-only MVNO offers gaining more traction

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