Light Reading

APAC Telecom's Seismic Shift

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
2/8/2013
50%
50%

Asia/Pacific's maturing telecom markets are undergoing a "seismic shift," and many of the market assumptions about them no longer hold true, according to ratings firm Moody's Investors Service. Laura Acres, senior vice president of the firm's corporate finance group, says carriers in the region are shifting their focus away from capex and investment and towards returns to the shareholders. "Capex is plateauing, revenue [growth] is slowing, and margins are declining," she told attendees at the TMT Finance & Investment Asia Conference in Hong Kong this week. "People think of Asia as high growth, but growth is in line with GDP," she noted. Asia/Pacific telecom markets are no longer low penetration, Acres continued. "It is reaching super-saturation in some markets. Many countries have far more than 100 percent penetration. India actually has more mobile phones than toilets!" Operators can no longer rely on growth simply by getting phones into the hands of subscribers. Now their strategies are more focused on trying to build up postpaid subscriber numbers and/or developing value-added services (VAS). In Indonesia, where churn is commonly above 100 percent, carriers are looking to services such as mobile banking and transactions to retain customers. But Acres said that although margins are down from "very high levels" in the recent past, they are still at levels that European operators "would kill for." She named four operators -- Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), China Mobile Ltd., and Indonesian mobile operators PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) and PT Indosat Tbk -- that still enjoyed EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) margins above 50 percent. At the other end of the market, competition and a consumer-friendly regulator in South Korea had helped drive EBITDA margin levels to well below 30 percent. The changing environment is stretching some telcos, however. Last August Moody's cut its rating on incumbent operator Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) to Aa2 from AA3 because of its plan to raise dividends despite relatively high debt. In addition, Malaysia's Axiata Group Berhad was downgraded to Baa2 because it had hiked returns while also boosting capex. Despite this, telecom operators -- and not just in Asia/Pacific -- are still very much favored by capital markets. "There just aren't enough telco bonds," stated one bondholder at the conference. Acres noted that Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd. (HKBN) sought US$450 million from the bond markets in January and was over-subscribed 20 times. "This is for a company that really is not known very much," said Acres. "It actually went to the bond markets without a rating: no rating, not very well-known internationally and it still got $9 billion. On the whole this is an industry with utility-like cash flows. It is very resilient, especially in Asia." Asia/Pacific telcos have enough cash and cash flows to self-fund during the next 12 months without raising any incremental debt, she added. "We see a sector that is highly bankable." -- Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Cyber Security Expert Warns: You're Doing It Wrong
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/23/2015
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
MWC: Let the Madness Begin
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.