Eurobites: Turkcell powers through pandemic

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Everyone wants a piece of Cellnex; Romania's Digi has strong second quarter; Israel wraps up 5G tender.

  • Turkcell powered through the pandemic months of the second quarter, reporting a 12% increase in revenues, to about 6.9 billion Turkish lira (US$940 million), and 11% growth in earnings, to around TRY2.8 billion ($380 million), compared with the year-earlier period. The Turkish operator's net profit soared 83%, to TRY852 million ($116 million), thanks partly to the positive impact of currency movements. Despite some hit to roaming revenues, Turkcell gained 181,000 customers in Turkey during the quarter, a registered a 14% increase in average revenue per user due to increased data usage and growth in the share of subscribers on contracts rather than low-cost prepaid plans. It stuck to full-year guidance of 10-12% sales growth and an earnings margin of 40-42%, compared with 41% in the second quarter. Turkcell has previously been cited by other service provider executives as a rare example of a telecom operator that has made a successful stab of emulating the big Internet companies and their modus operandi. Whatever the full story, many of its peers can only dream about this sort of growth. (See Turkcell trumpets 'record' mobile ARPU growth in Q4.)

  • European towers company Cellnex said its €4 billion ($4.7 billion) issue of shares had been fully subscribed, giving it the resources for a more aggressive expansion into the market. Interest was apparently so great that it resulted in an oversubscription, equaling about 46.3 times the offer of 101.4 million new shares – worth about €185 billion ($218.4 billion). With preferential rights, various investment funds that already held stakes in Cellnex took advantage of the offer. Cellnex rents space on more than 40,000 European towers to service providers building mobile networks. Its goal is to reach 61,000 by 2027. Cellnex's share price has more than tripled in the last five years and was trading at €53.24 ($62.86) in Madrid this morning. (See Cellnex builds €11B war chest for towers landgrab.)

  • Romania's Digi Communications had a strong second quarter, reporting a 5% increase in sales, to €310 million ($366 million), and 6% growth in earnings, to €115 million ($136 million), compared with the year-earlier period. The operator said the number of revenue-generating units – meaning the individual services taken by customers – rose 9%, to 16.9 million, across its two main markets of Romania and Spain. Digi provides a range of fixed-line and mobile communications services.

  • Israel's communications authority wrapped up its tender for new 5G spectrum, according to a Reuters report. Cellcom, the country's largest mobile operator, is to pay 115 million shekels ($34 million) for licenses, while number-two player Partner Communications is spending ILS62.3 million ($18 million) for airwaves. For Pelephone, the other mobile operator, the reported fee is ILS88.2 million ($26 million). Payments are said to be due in September 2022.

    — Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading

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