BT Consumer’s move to the EE brand is a gradual one, with an EE re-launch due next year set to accelerate this, although the BT and Plusnet brands will not be withdrawn in a hurry.

The company is hoping that the new converged EE will drive new revenue streams, a challenging task, but one that it is approaching with realism, and building on previous success.

BT confirmed that the inflation-plus price rise will be applied next year, along with a hope-to-be-sustained increase in front book pricing too. The cost-of-living crisis is putting pressure on ARPU, with FTTP likely to only partially compensate.

Vodafone’s downgraded guidance is due to its woes in Germany rather than the economy. There is some limited reassurance that this will turnaround soon.

It remains challenging for Vodafone to achieve its revised FY guidance with a 7ppt improvement in underlying EBITDA growth required to get there.

Leverage and cash-calls are much improved, and the dividend looks assured, but the Vantage and German deals mean escalating pressures on EBITDA.

Cost-of-living pressures and tougher fixed competition drove VMO2’s revenues (just) back into negative territory this quarter.

Synergy benefits, however, delivered impressive EBITDA growth (+5%) with more to come as the Virgin Mobile MVNO shifts on-network next quarter.

We struggle to foresee convergence becoming the company’s next growth driver as trailed by the CEO, but the mobile outlook is fairly robust and there are steps that can be taken to shore up the pressurised fixed business.

Revenues were stable year-on-year in Q3, with UK growth offsetting Continental decline. All three markets posted positive customer net adds across the quarter.

Underlying profitability is improving, and although World Cup-related changes to the football schedule depressed net income in Q3, they will lift it in Q4.

A possible sale of Sky Deutschland would make sense if it helps the buyer reach superior scale within Germany.

The new Truss/Hunt tandem is a needed response to the crisis affecting the credibility of the UK Government in global financial markets over its decisions on economic policy, although it will take time to re-establish credibility and stability

The cost-of-living crisis is inexorably widening from goods and services to the interest rates paid by Government, businesses, and households, exacerbating the recessionary trend of the economy

Implications for UK TMT range from the recession in advertising expenditure in2023, to the delay of the Media Bill (including the privatisation of Channel 4), alongside complications for mergers and acquisitions of UK companies

Vodafone is in the midst of a flurry of M&A, likely driven by its share price, which is at a 30-year-low, and stubbornly high leverage as an economic crisis looms.

While the mooted Vodafone/Three merger has the potential to add meaningful shareholder value, the German and Vantage deals are designed to ease Vodafone’s ongoing leverage issue—with debt relief up front paid for with future EBITDA.

Getting leverage under control will be helpful, but the focus should continue to be Vodafone’s operational performance, particularly in Germany, and its ability to deliver EBITDA promises in challenging circumstances.

Whether to allow a Vodafone/H3G merger is essentially a trade-off between range of consumer choice and costs of network duplication. With the need for the former diminishing and the latter increasing, the case for approval is strengthened.

H3G is in a negative spiral of small scale, low investment, and low returns. A merger would allow it to form part of a more credible competitor with a transformed returns profile—without rising prices or reduced industry investment levels.

The CMA’s aversion to mergers has been very stringent of late—an approach that risks deterring investment and compromising competitiveness. Consolidation in UK mobile is unlikely to happen without a change of mindset.

The pandemic years boosted many businesses selling services on subscription in the UK: work-from-home gave people more time and money to widen the services they enjoyed in the home, such as gaming, entertainment and music, also boosting engagement with trusted news

The cost-of-living crisis dented the number of subscribers to OTT SVOD and news services in Q2 2022. Broadband and mobile are must-have; bundles of services (e.g. Sky’s pay-TV and broadband or mobile) are more resilient; yearly and multi-year contracts prevent churn relative to monthly contracts; and services that cater to passions (e.g. football) are always need-to-have

Subscription (or supporter) media and news services reaped the demand for trusted news through the pandemic, but now face a tough challenge to their toplines from the economic downturn—and also to transition to a sustainable business model for media audiences, while advertisers are also feeling the heat

Apple's announcement that the iPhone 14 will be eSIM-only in the US paves the way for it to ultimately enter the market for mobile services there, although that will require the co-operation of at least one mobile operator.

This should be a red flag for UK operators who have been obliged to facilitate a form of eSIMs already and are likely to be obliged to go a few steps further in the coming years.

Policymakers need to think very carefully about the pros and cons of such a move by Apple—the industry cannot afford to give Apple a slice of its much-called-upon pie.

Mobile service revenue growth rose to its highest level in over ten years (+4.5%) as a result of the operators’ higher-than-inflation price rises.

BT/EE fared best with broadly-applied, sizeable increases and robust churn while H3G’s more modest increases and later timing led to just a minor pickup in its service revenue growth—in spite of continued strong performance on the subscriber side.

There are some early signs of an increase in consumer bargain-hunting and some payment challenges, with B2B robust for now but with an increasingly rocky outlook.