Sunday, December 29, 2013

Outlook 2014 for Dutch telecoms market

We have produced a number of articles looking ahead to 2014 for each of the majors on the Dutch telco market. Here are the main questions:
  • KPN:
    • who will be the new CFO?
    • offer from America Movil: unlikely?
    • what to do with EUR 5bn from selling E-Plus?
    • consolidate the Belgian market and become the prime reseller?
    • buy Ziggo and UPC NL to create a national open access infrastructure?
  • Tele2 NL:
    • what will a new CEO mean for Tele2?
    • when will the LTE-network be activated? will it lead to pricing pressure?
    • how can the downturn on the fixed market be stopped? when will it start unbundling FTTH?
  • Ziggo:
    • the new CEO (Obermann from DT): his arrival alone would imply either no deal with Liberty Global, or a guaranteed career for Obermann within LGI.
    • expanding the mobile strategy: nomadic rather than a full MVNO?
    • OTT-partnerships: unlikely?
  • UPC NL:
    • will the merger with Ziggo happen? or will a reversed deal take place: Ziggo acquires UPC?
    • what can the company do on a standalone-basis to improve its performance? will it follow in Ziggo's footsteps regarding mobile and WiFi?
    • will it launch the UPC Phone app?
    • will it hold on to the Horizon box, or explore alternatives? (cloud-based solution, TiVo, RDK, Frog by Wyplay, ...)
  • Vodafone NL:
    • when will it start unbundling FTTH?
    • takeovers on the business market?
  • T-Mobile NL:
    • a new CEO is due, after Thomas Berlemann was sacked.
    • how disruptive will the mobile-only strategy be? attack the DSL-market? deploy TD-LTE? follow T-Mobile USA's uncarrier strategy?
    • how dependent will it become on Tele2? (2G/3G MVNO income, 4G network sharing income; network sharing cost savings) will it explore more wholesale opportunities?
There are so many opportunities for operators to return to growth, but resources (euros, management time) are scarce. One would wish that the operators would be aggressive, opportunistic and on the offensive, rather than following a me-too strategy, avoid risk and be on the defensive, but that remains to be seen. Ultimately, this is a matter of short-term versus long-term vision.

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