European mobile service revenue growth improved by 0.5ppts to -7.2% in Q2 2014, but all of this and more was driven by a reduced regulatory impact; underlying growth has been stuck at around 6% for the last four quarters, with progress in some areas consistently being countered by further pricing pressure

Industry consolidation has progressed to some extent, but would have had little impact in the quarter. Further in-country mobile/mobile mergers are more than likely but uncertainty driven by the changing European Commission may be delaying decisions to move forward

The UK example shows that consolidation is not necessary for market repair, but in the present environment the smaller operators in continental Europe have every incentive to be as disruptive as possible to encourage their acquisition, so further mergers cannot come soon enough

European mobile service revenue growth again disappointed in Q4, dropping slightly from -8.9% to -9.1%, with underlying revenue growth dropping a little further from -6.0% to -6.3%, again reaching a record low

There had been hopes that improved GDP growth would drive a volume rebound, that price declines would start to annualise out, and that declining out-of-bundle usage would wane in its impact as this usage declined. In the event, ongoing price competition from smaller operators, MVNOs and quad play offerings, combined with surging use of OTT communications platforms, have dominated trends

In the medium term, the development of 4G and Vodafone’s Project Spring may bring some much needed network differentiation back to the market, allowing pricing power to return to the larger operators. However, it will be 2015-2016 before these factors come into play: in the short term, the main source of optimism is consolidation

Iliad is getting ever closer to securing the French 4th 3G licence on terms with which it is happy, with progress slow but seemingly inevitable, and a licence award likely in H2 2008 followed by service launch in 2010

Neuf Cegetel

This report presents our analysis of Neuf Cegetel alongside that of close rival Iliad (which trades under the Free brand). Neuf and Iliad are France’s two leading unbundlers, are both quoted on the Euronext exchange and, since Neuf’s IPO in November 2006, have been assessed largely in parallel by investors. We anticipate Neuf's Investor Day on 12th September will provide analysts with greater detail on Neuf’s strategy to improve by 2010 its profitability to the level enjoyed by Iliad.

Iliad’s 2006 results were solid with broadband subscriber growth on target, DSL market share up one point to 19%, ARPU up 7% to €34.5/month and churn (enviably) at just below 1% per month. Over 1 million of Iliad’s subscribers have dropped France Télécom line rental and Iliad now completely owns those fixed-line telecoms customer relationships