In this short presentation we show our analysis of trends in UK broadband and telephony to September 2010, based on the published results of the major service providers and Ofcom telephony data. We include our own estimates where reported data is incomplete. This quarter’s edition includes a revision to some historical trends resulting from our own interpretation of BT’s recent adjustment to the volume of unbundled lines.

Highlights in the quarter included exceptionally strong growth in broadband net additions at Sky and the resumption of the long term rate of decline in broadband market growth by volume.

European mobile revenue growth improved by 0.8ppts in Q3 to reach -0.3%, but all of this improvement and more was due to easing regulatory pressures, with underlying growth actually declining marginally

GDP growth continues to improve year-on-year, but in the current low confidence environment underlying mobile revenue growth is not (yet) responding. Smartphone sales are surging, but their net impact on revenue is hard to discern

Looking forward, the regulatory impact is likely to turn negative again for the next few quarters, so some underlying growth catch-up is required for revenue growth to stay at around zero

The decline in UK residential broadband market growth has paused due to accelerating adoption by older householders and increased household formation. We expect 970,000 net additions in 2010 and 20.5 million broadband households by 2015. However we expect growth will continue to decline from 2011 as the impact of the government spending review feeds into consumer confidence and the market becomes increasingly saturated

As BT’s next generation access network is deployed, there is likely to be accelerated improvement in DSL price/performance, with DSL customers migrating to a 40 Mbit/s headline speed as it becomes available. The impact of this is likely to be compounded by Virgin Media up-rating its broadband portfolio from speeds of 10, 20 and 50 Mbit/s to 20, 50 and 100 Mbit/s

In the absence of further consolidation, in market share terms the industry appears set to remain divided into three strategic segments: the ‘big three’, brand extenders, and Sky. We expect residential broadband market revenue (excluding content) to continue to decline gradually, stabilising by 2015 as the impact of market share gain by lower priced ISPs attenuates due to a combination of a maturing market and reduced price differentials caused by NGA


Everything Everywhere’s maiden investor day presentation was soured by the disappointing results it reported for Q2 2010, with service revenue growth underperforming its UK competitors by 7 percentage points. At current relative growth rates, O2 will retake its lead by June 2011

The synergy savings targets have been maintained, but focused more towards back office functions and away from front line assets such as shops and network base station sites, with the brands being kept separate for the time being. This is a sensible enough approach, and the cost savings still look eminently achievable

Going forward, the company will have the advantage of a better network but the disadvantage of disruptive integration for the next few years. Its main challenge will be to reverse the current negative revenue momentum, which puts both its revenue and margin targets at risk