Category Archives: Austria

Plan B: Avoid the merger-to-no-merger journey

EU 4The shock waves reverberate in the European telecoms industry ever since Telenor and TeliaSonera in September deemed it pointless to continue negotiations with the European Commission to win support for a mobile merger between Telenor and Telia in Denmark. Continue reading Plan B: Avoid the merger-to-no-merger journey

What buys you a load of data in Finland, France & Denmark, buys you nothing in Belgium & Switzerland

How much mobile services do you get for 20 EUR?

For 25? 30? 35? 40 EUR?

We have compared the service prices of all mobile operator brands in eleven countries: Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

And Europe is divided. Continue reading What buys you a load of data in Finland, France & Denmark, buys you nothing in Belgium & Switzerland

Mobile consolidation: Less is more?

Quick link

You already have a view about the consolidation of mobile operators in Europe, don’t you?

FourSome people believe that four mobile operators are the guarantee for sufficient market competition. The entry of Free Mobile in France suggests this. Continue reading Mobile consolidation: Less is more?

Increase loyalty. Increase revenue. Reduce SAC/SRC. Is the combo possible?

Decoupled, non-binding, unsubsidised: A game changer?

Our analysis shows that mature market mobile operators on average use 15-20% of service revenue on subscriber acquisition and subscriber retention cost (SAC/SRC). In most cases without growing.Decoupled Non-binding Unsubsidised

Consequently, we examine the success of the operators who – in order to reduce SAC/SRC and improve margin – are challenging the mature market norm with binding contracts with coupled, subsidised, equipment. Continue reading Increase loyalty. Increase revenue. Reduce SAC/SRC. Is the combo possible?

Niel buys Orange Switzerland: So will Swiss headcount follow French?

Orange Switzerland (which since 2012 isn’t owned by Orange Group) is just about to be sold to Xavier Niel’s private holding company. What makes it interesting is that Niel is the person behind Iliad, the company who operates under the Free brand in France. Continue reading Niel buys Orange Switzerland: So will Swiss headcount follow French?

The Alps operator benchmark

In 2013, tefficient introduced the Nordic operator benchmark to telcos in Sweden, Finland and Norway. The feedback has been strong, leading to repetitions in 2014 and 2015. Denmark was added in 2015.

Unlike other benchmarks, it has a local view since the peer group only contains operators from the covered countries – which have been selected based on high comparability. Unlike other benchmarks, it is therefore 100% fact based since no numbers need to be “adjusted” in an attempt to mask that they weren’t comparable in the first place. Continue reading The Alps operator benchmark

A1: “Historic low” churn comes at a cost (SRC)

A1, the Austrian incumbent, today reports a year-on-year EBITDA decrease of 19.4% for 2013. In this situation, you have to highlight the positives. Telekom Austria group is e.g. saying: “A1 Premium Monthly Churn Rate at Historic Low“.

By now, our industry should have learned that churn figures never can be referred to without also referring to the subscriber retention cost (SRC). It’s simple to decrease postpaid churn – if you have deep pockets: Pay higher SRC to get more customers to stay.

So since Telekom Austria hasn’t done it – let us plot postpaid churn against SRC. It’s the graph below.

A1 churn SRC dev 2011-2013

In 2013, A1 has been able to reduce postpaid churn to below 10% on annual basis which – internationally compared – is very low. But starting Q4 2012, A1’s SRC elevated from around 140 EUR to about 170 EUR. This happened at the same time as smartphone price points started to come down which, in other markets, was positive for SRC. The reason to A1’s increase must therefore be found in the local market: In January 2013, ‘3’ incorporated Orange to become a strong number 3 in Austria.

A1 churn SRC dev 2011-2013 with competitors

But how good is A1’s churn rate? If we plot the figures of T-Mobile and ‘3’ into the graph just above, we can see that competitors report as low churn as A1. (Prior to adding Orange, ‘3’ was even at annual churn levels below 3%). T-Mobile has followed A1’s SRC upwards, but from a lower level. In a local perspective, A1’s achievements seem in line or even substandard.

Note. T-Mobile and ‘3’ have not yet reported Q4/2H 2013. ‘3’ doesn’t report SRC.

From four to three operators: The quick fix of a broken market?

Austrian train

Austria, with a population of 8.5 million, used to have five mobile network operators, making it one of the most competitive mobile markets in Europe. Now there are three left.

When Hutchison-Whampoa, the owner of ‘3’, made a bid on Orange, the European Union needed 11 months to approve it. EU appears to have changed their thinking since. It’s roaming that is under scrutiny now: If operators would agree to abolish roaming fees within EU, maybe EU could be more forgiving to national M&A?

Consequently, European operator executives are publicly advocating the need to cut the number of mobile operators to three per country. If Telefónica’s bid for E-plus in Germany is approved by KPN’s shareholders and by the EU, it will be the ultimate starting signal for Europe’s march towards national consolidation: If it can be done in EU’s largest country, why not elsewhere?

But since Austria serves as the 4-to-3 precedent of Europe, let’s check what the first six months with three mobile operators did to the business results.

Download analysis: tefficient public industry analysis 10 2013 From 4 to 3 Austria