Light Reading
In today's roundup: Gloomy revenues and earnings forecast for Western Europe's communications service providers; Telefónica raises eyebrows; SFR's capex; and 4G in Israel

Euronews: Fitch Warns of Tough Year for CSPs

Ray Le Maistre
1/7/2013
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Fitch Ratings Ltd., Telefónica SA, SFR and Israel's comms ministry feature in today's regional roundup.

  • Fitch Ratings expects a year-on-year decline in the aggregate revenues of Western Europe's leading communications service providers (CSPs). The total revenues of the 18 CSPs it rates -- 12 incumbents and 6 competitive operators (including four cable firms) -- are forecast to dip by 1.3 percent to almost €328 billion (US$428 billion), while the total operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of the 18 companies are forecast to dip by 2 percent compared with 2012, to €106.9 billion ($139.4 billion). The Fitch team believes the incumbent telcos face the greatest pressure as a result of regulatory and competitive challenges, whereas the region's cable operators are showing superior "operational strength" compared with their telco rivals, helped by what Fitch describes as "superior network technology." For more, see this Fitch report (log-in required).

  • Telefónica is courting controversy with the appointment of Rodrigo Rato to the advisory board for its European and Latin American operations. As Reuters reports, Rato is one of a number of individuals under investigation for alleged fraud at Spanish financial institution Bankia, which was bailed out by the Spanish government in 2012.

  • The need to build out 4G and fiber access broadband connections in the highly competitive French market means SFR will maintain its annual capex budget at more than €1.5 billion ($1.95 billion), despite falling revenues caused by a price war, reports Reuters, citing Les Echos. (See Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene.)

  • Israel's Ministry of Communications intends to allocate 4G frequencies this year, according to a Globes report.

    — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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    Ray Le Maistre
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    Ray Le Maistre,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    1/7/2013 | 3:58:54 PM
    re: Euronews: Fitch Warns of Tough Year for CSPs
    Interesting that Fitch sees the cable operator's Docsis upgrades as providing a clear operational advantage over what the traditional telcos are doing with their copper plant (eg VDSL2).-á
    Wonder if the introduction of vectoring tech by VDSl2 players in 2013 and beyond will alter that perception? -á
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