Market revenue growth continued to accelerate in Q2 to reach 3%, but broadband growth worryingly dipped as the lockdown boost waned.

Differing pricing dynamics (among other factors) led to very different outcomes for the main players, with BT’s growth surging to 7% while VMO2’s revenue stayed in decline.

Underlying trends of weakening broadband growth, keener pricing and customer bargain seeking point to slower growth ahead … until the next price increase.

BT Group’s revenue growth surged in Q1 to 1%, the first time it has been positive in five years, with a stronger than expected boost from the April price rises partially offset by the Virgin Mobile MVNO loss.

EBITDA growth, however, actually dipped to 2%, with little operating leverage due to cost pressures, although the company is still very confident in its full year EBITDA guidance (which implies 4% growth).

BT is far from immune to macroeconomic pressures, with pressure on costs, corporate revenue and signs of a sharp dip in broadband market growth, but it is well placed to deal with them given strong growth at Consumer and Openreach.

UK altnet full fibre rollouts are accelerating, with an aggregate build pace close to that of Openreach, but customer acquisition is not growing at the same pace, and overbuild in the most attractive areas is becoming a significant issue.

Altnet business models remain challenging and are getting worse as Openreach builds out, and (although there are some notable exceptions) most will need to rapidly achieve scale and turn around their performance to survive.

Consolidation is very likely, along with business failures, and while some market share loss for Openreach looks likely as serious scale players emerge, the downside is limited, and even more so for retail ISPs.

The market looked superficially healthy in Q1, with revenue and broadband volume growth both maintained at 2%.

However, net adds trends suggest that consumers are becoming more bargain seeking, and prices have become more competitive into Q2.

The April price increases will support growth in the short term, but this boost may not last long if the cost-of-living crisis persists.

BT’s Q4 was mixed in the detail, with consumer broadband volumes weakening but FTTP roll-out and adoption surging, with performance at the Group level solid enough.

The April price increase has reportedly landed well, strongly supporting BT’s guidance for revenue and EBITDA growth in 2022/23 with no other improvements required.

The macroeconomic environment continues to weaken, affecting BT and its premium brands in a number of ways, but it appears to have enough room in its guidance to weather this storm.

Market revenue growth accelerated to just under 2% in Q4, with broadband growth holding up despite the ending of most pandemic restrictions.

Backbook pricing pressure should continue to retreat in 2022, and ultrafast speed premia should also bolster ARPU as FTTP roll-outs accelerate.

The price increases due in April will further support growth, with BT in particular to benefit, and all will have to be wary of customer backlash.

TikTok has reached a billion users worldwide just four years after its global launch, much quicker than social media rivals, though its ban in India is a drag on growth.

TikTok’s popularity with under-25s has contributed to a hollowing-out of Meta’s active userbase. During the pandemic, TikTok also expanded its reach among older demographics, cementing its position within the mainstream and posing a further threat to Meta. 

TikTok could earn twice as much revenue as Snap in 2022, making it the first app to break out of the mid-league in years, with a huge runway for growth backed up by ByteDance’s remarkable success in China. 

BT had a solid Q3, with some mixed results but key metrics all improving, and a (perhaps unsurprisingly) slow post-lockdown recovery the only negative.

The price increase in April should drive dramatic (for BT) revenue and EBITDA acceleration at Consumer, Openreach and BT as a whole, and easily cover pressures within BT’s own cost base.

Longer-term growth is dependent on FTTP performance, which continues to look promising with improving metrics across the board in the quarter, and no news is good news in terms of ISPs signing with competitor networks.

Market revenue growth fell in Q3 to below 1%, and may drop below zero next quarter as existing customer pricing comes under more pressure

New customer pricing is however rising, and average pricing should rise much further as ultrafast increases in availability and popularity 

Political enthusiasm for full fibre should be welcomed, although some specific plans are likely to do more harm than good if implemented literally
 

Virgin Media had a challenging quarter, with its early price rise driving weak subscriber figures and product spin-down, resulting in reduced revenue growth and an accelerated OCF decline

The market environment remains challenging with very competitive pricing on superfast and little push for ultrafast, but superfast pricing is easing and competitors’ ultrafast pushes should accelerate in 2020

Full fibre roll-outs remain a threat and an opportunity in almost equal measure, with Virgin Media’s positioning likely to be clarified as the regulatory mist clears over the next year