Monday, September 20, 2021

Week 37 in Telecoms, Internet, Media

CORPORATE

  • Infrastructure
    • Telefonica: Rumor: to sell 50% stake in Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure (CTIL, towerco UK), EUR 2b
    • GTT: Closes sale of infra division to I Squared Capital, $2.15b (pan-European, North American, subsea fiber network & data center assets, associated infrastructure services) to focus on serving the global enterprise market with  cloud networking & managed solutions that include SD-WAN, security, internet, voice, other vital telecommunication services; rebranded as EXA Infrastructure (500 PoPs in 31 countries, 14 datacenters, 300 co-location facilities, 3 submarine cables)
  • Vodafone: Vodafone ES plans 515 job cuts (12%)
  • Lyca plans expansion, GBP 250m in 3 yr; currently in 23 countries
  • Iliad: HoldCo II (Xavier Niel) expands stake to 85.23%
  • CETIN: Fitch assigns BBB, outlook stable
  • Telstra: Investor Day: launches T25 strategy, 4 pillars:
    • 1. exceptional customer experiences
    • 2. continued network and tech leadership
    • 3. sustained growth and value for shareholders
    • 4. the place you want to work
    • target 5G pops coverage 95% by 250630, grow 4G 75G footprint by 100k km^2, double # urban metro cells, 80% of mobile traffic on 5G by 250630, to add 250 towers + 700 tenancies
    • target CAGRs 2021-2025: adj EBITDA MSD, EPS HSD; plans AUS 500m cost redux 2023-2025; to increase NPS 25 points
  • Vivendi
  • Funding
    • Sportradar: IPO through SPAC merger, valuation $8b
    • Discord: Rumor: raises $500m from Dragoneer Investment Group, Baillie Gifford, Coatue Management, Fidelity Management & Research, Franklin Templeton at $15b valuation
    • GitLab: Plans IPO; rev 21Q2 $58m (+69%)
    • Picnic: Raises EUR 600m for expansion itno DE, FR from Bill & Melinda Gates.Fnd, Fentener van Vlissingen (SHV Holdings), Hoyer (Heineken-belegger), Van der Wal (Boni), De Rijcke (Kruidvat), Edeka; current covered pops footprint: 50% in NL, 5% in DE, <1% in FR; to add robotics distr centers, e-vehicles
  • Amazon: To hire 125k in US for fulfillment and transportation, average pay >18 $/hr (max 22.50 $hr in some locations), sign-on bonuses up to $3,000 in select locations - To hire 7500 in Arizona - Career Day attractes >1m applicants
  • Microsoft: Rumor: plans major acquisition

NETWORKS

  • Fixed
    • Open Dutch Fiber plans FTTP in Utrecht (city #3), <30k lines first in De Meern, Veldhuizen from Nov 2021, next Tuindorp, Vogelenbuurt, Tuinwijk, Pijlsweerd, Zeeheldenbuurt, Lauwerecht, Wittevrouwen; activation from Feb 2022; plans more areas in Utrecht and other cities
    • Comcast plans Docsis 4 (preparing with node splits, fiber deeper, mid splits (increases upstream spectrum to 85 MHz))
  • Funding
  • Open RAN
    • Telefonica plans Open RAN trials in ES, DE< UK, Brazil, with NEC (as SI); target 800 sites for commercial launch 2022
    • TIM launches Open RAN in Matera and Turin, with Mavenir, MTI, Dell, Intel, VMware
  • Market research
    • Cable.co.uk & M-Lab Worldwide broadband speed league 2021 report (224 countries, based on 1.1b speed tests): #1 Jersey (274 Mb/s mean download), #2 Liechtenstein (211), #3 Iceland (192), #4 Andorra (165), #5 Gibraltar (151), #6 Monaco (144), #7 Luxembourg (108), #9 NL (107), #10 HU (104)
    • FTTH Council publishes 2 reports: FTTH Forecast for Europe (Market forecasts 2021-2026) and FTTH/B in Rural Areas
    • Ookla Speedtest Global Index (Aug 2021) global average FBB 110/60 Mb/s, MBB 57/13 Mb/s; FBB: Sing #1 (262), HK #2 (254), Monaco #3 (243), CH #4 (222), Thai #5 (221), NL #24 (162); MBB: UAE #1 (196), S Korea #2 (192), NO #3 (174), Qatar #4 (169), China #5 (163), NL #14 (100)
  • Wireless
    • Starlink to launch out of beta Oct 2021    
    • Telenet trials FWA in 60 GHz band, with Pharrowtech and Unitron
    • Google: Project Taara demos 20 Gb/s in Africa (with Econet) using Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC, laser tech, requires LoS, developed by Project Loon) at 5 km, availability 99.9%

SERVICES

HARDWARE

  • CPE
  • GSA
    • 5G ecosystem report (device list) at 210831: 991 5G devics (o/w 645 commercially available) in 22 form factors from 154 vendors; total 478 smartphones (o/w 424 commercially availbale), 117 FWA devices (74 available), 137 modules, 65 enterprise routers, 45 hotspots, 18 laptops, 18 tablets, 11 in-vehicle routers, 8 USB-modems, 34 other
    • FWA market survey report: shipments 2021E: 14.3m hotspots (+23%), 25.5m indoor CPE (+30%), 4.6m outdoor CPE (+39%)
  • Apple

REGULATORY

  • FTC report on acquisitions by Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsft during 2010-2019: 819 deals were not reported (incl acquisitions of voting control of companies, partial investments, patent acquisitions, hiring events), 616 over $1m - FTC withdraws guidelines on how to review vertical mergers
  • Google
    • South Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) fines SKW 207b = $177m over OS market abuse (blocking rivals to enter, prevented device manufacturers, such as Samsung and LG, from customising Android OS)
    • CCI (India antitrust authority) finds market abuse with Android OS: reduced device manufacturing firms’ ability & incentive to develop & sell devices running alternative versions of Android (forks) [see 190510]
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
    • WSJ: program XCheck shields millions of VIP users from the company’s normal enforcement process, total 5.8m users in 2020
    • WSJ: internal research (March 2020) showed Instagram had negative effect on teen girl users (“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse”, “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves”) - US Congress (Senate Commerce Committee: Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) & Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)) plans investigation
    • WSJ: internal research shows News Feed overhaul 2018 (meant to boost meaningful social interactions (MSI)) had opposite effect (increased misinformation, toxicity, violent content), CEO Zuckerberg resisted some proposed fixes
    • WSJ: internal research shows employees flag drug cartels and human traffickers, the company’s response is inadequate or nothing at all
    • WSJ: internal documents shows that antivaccine activists flooded Facebook, using Facebook’s own tools to sow doubt about the severity of the pandemic’s threat and the safety vaccines to combat it
    • Facebook disputes WSJ article series: "At the heart of this series is an allegation that is just plain false: that Facebook conducts research and then systematically and willfully ignores it if the findings are inconvenient for the company. "
  • Uber: Judge NL: drivers to be classified as employees (4k in NL)
  • TikTok: DPC (Ireland) starts investigation of TikTok over transfering data to China


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Week 36 in Telecoms, Internet, Media

CORPORATE

  • Deutsche Telekom:
    • Sells T-Mobile NL to APAX & Warburg Pincus (also jointly own Inmarsat), EV (enterprise value) EUR 5.1b = 8.7x LTM adj EBITDA AL, requires approval from EC, AFM, Dutch government, others (foreign bodies linked to APAX and Warburg Pincus), Works Council, to close 21Q4; DT to receive EUR 3.8b cash (includes repayment of DT's shareholder loans to T-Mobile NL); Tele2 to receive equity value EUR 860m = SEK 8.8b, plans extraordinary dividend, 11 SEK/share; licenses T-Mobile and Tele2 brands for 10 yr; CEO Abildgaard acquires shares, extends contract by 5 yr; to focus on B2B, IoT; to increase investments; rumor: 60% of purchase price to be debt funded by T-Mobile NL
    • To increase T-Mobile US stake to 48.4% from proceeds of T-Mobile NL (20m T-Mobile US shares at USD 109 for USD 2.4b) [see 210907] & new shares (225m DT shares at EUR 20 for 45m T-Mobile US shares at USD 118) issued to SoftBank (stake drops to 3.3%); SoftBank to have 4.5% stake in DT
    • To decide on 12% BT stake within 12 mo
    • Reduces Ströer stake to 4.9%
    • Monopolkommission (DE) proposes German state sells DT stake
  • Telefonica: Establishes new Strategy & Development Department (strategy, M&A, digital innovation)
  • Vodafone: Vodafone Idea expects Indian government support
  • VOO: Rumor: Telenet, Orange BE, Warburg Pincus + 2 other PE interested; valuation EUR 1.4b; to sell 50 or 75% stake
  • Iliad: AMF approves buy-out documents; Xavier Niel has 84.13%, launches public offer until 210924, plans squeeze out on reaching 90%
  • RTL:
  • Channel 4: EY report: privatisation could rerduce contribution through supply chain to UK economy by GBP 2b
  • Storytel (listed) sells 6.6m shares (<10%) to EQT Public Value
  • Sony: CMA (UK): AWAL acquisition raises competition concerns [see 210201], to respond within 5 days, otherwise to Phase 2
  • Sportradar: Plans IPO
  • PayPal: Acquires Paidy (Japan; buy now, pay later service that does not require a credit card), JPY 300b = $2.7b cash
  • Stripe: Rumor: plans IPO 2022
  • Amazon: Expands education & skills training benefits for US employees, to spend $1.2b 2022-2025: full college tuition for front-line employees (750k); adds 3 new skills training programs (to total 9) for employees to help them transition into jobs as data center technology technicians, IT engineers, user experience designers
  • Microsoft: Study of 61k US employees working remotely: "potential to impact workers’ ability to acquire and share new information across groups, and as a result, affect productivity and innovation"; "rely more frequently than before on asynchronous communication, such as email and instant messages, and less frequently than before on synchronous communication, such as audio and video calls"

SERVICES

  • NHK demos 8K video, with Intel; 23m pixels/sec, requires 80 Mb/s
  • Walt Disney: To raise Hulu prices 211008: Hulu from 12 to 13 $/mo, Hulu With Ads from 6 to 7 $/mo; Hulu With Live TV remains 65 with ads, 71 without ads
  • WarnerMedia:
    • HBO Max to expand to 20 countries in Europe (also for HBO España, HBO Nordic, HBO Go subs): SE, NO, DK, FI, ES, Andorra 211026; next to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, CZ, HU, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, PL, PT, RO, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia in 2022 (total 60 countries); to organise around 5 hubs: Warner Bros, HBO, DC, Cartoon Network, Max Originals, to include licensed contnet, offering differs by country; no plans for AVOD tier in Europe; distr deal in ES with Vodafone ES, exclusive [other existing distr deals: via Sky (UK, IE, DE, AT, CH, IT), VodafoneZiggo (NL), Amedia (Russia)]
    • Tests pricing for CNN+, from 2-10 $/mo
  • Apple: Rumor: marketing spend for Apple TV+ $500m in 2021E, to increase originals in 2022 to >= 1 title/week
  • Channel 4: Plans global streaming AVOD service, expanding All4 outside UK
  • Star Media: To launch streaming service LAVA, with OTTera, globally autumn 2021; 8 languages, 7500 hr of series & films
  • Globacom (Nigeria) launches GloTV streaming service
  • TEGNA: Launches Quest, free AVOD service for adventure reality content
  • Google:
    • Expands Google Workspace functionality: enhanced search, Meet calling, live-translated captions in Meet, video conferencing devices for Meet from Logitech & Avocor
    • Google and Cisco partner to make Meet and WebEx interoperable
  • Bezeq receives license to supply electricity; Cellcom and Hot Comms also

HARDWARE

  • Amazon: Launches range of Fire TV devices in US: 2 TV ranges with Alexa, 4K/UHD, HDR 10, HLG, Dolby Digital Plus: Amazon-built smart TVs (Amazon Fire TV Omni Series; $410, 510, 560, 830, 1100 for 43, 50, 55, 65 or 75 inches; 4-Series smart TVs for $370, 470, 520 for 43, 55 or 55 inches); new Fire TV Stick 4K Max with Alexa, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, WiFi 6 ($55); distr deal with Best Buy in US for Pioneer (43 and 50 inch) and Toshiba smart TVs (55, 65 o5 75 inch)
  • Facebook: Launches AR glasses Ray-Ban Stories (with EssilorLuxottica), $300 ($330 with polarized lenses, $380 with transition lenses), with dual cameras (5 mp), companion camera roll app Facebook View, voice control, storage for 500 photos (or clips equivalent)
  • Oppo launches Reno6 5G (EUR 500) and the Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G (EUR 800) smartphones
  • Foxtel (Australia) launches streaming-only STB iQ5: 50k hr of content, 1 TB harddrive, 3rd-party apps (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, ABC iView, SBS On Demand)
  • TIM launches Technicolor STB (Android TV, JADE platform, WiFi 6)

REGULATORY

  • DCMS (UK) starts GBP 4m project to allow MNOs access to lamp posts, traffic signals, CCTV poles etc for mobile equipment for 5G
  • Slovenia plans 2100 auction (2x5 MHz)
  • Spain plans 26 GHz auction end 2021-early 2022
  • Facebook: CMA (UK) orders sell-off of GIPHY, final report 211006
  • Apple: Federal District Court Judge in case brought by Epic Games (Fortnite): Apple must allow developers to link to their own transaction systems (for in-app purchases) from 211209; Epic failed in its burden to demonstrate Apple is an illegal monopolist; Apple not required to let Fortnite back in App Store, Epic to pay damages; Epic to appeal - Epic appeals
  • DE, FR, NL call for stricter DMA (platform gatekeeper regulation) than proposed by EC, more room for customised remedies, national enforcement, national authorities should also be able to launch investigations on their own, propose ‘tailor-made remediation’, all acquisitions by the gatekeepers, including small deals, should be subject to competition vetting (investigations max 12 mo); final DMA expected 22H1


Monday, September 06, 2021

Week 35 in Telecoms, Internet, Media

CORPORATE

  • Eir: 20/21Q4; changes financial year end from 30 June to 31 December, from 2021; outlook 2021 (21H2): EBITDA growth LSD, capex/sales 21-23%, cash flow growth
  • MTS: Proposes passive infra (towers in Tower Infrastructure Company) and active infra (fixed, data centre and cloud computing into MWS-1) spin-offs
  • Eurofiber: Acquires Netiwan (FR; Béziers, Montpellier, Nîmes), to merge with FullSave; targets expansion to 25 French cities by 2025
  • RTL: Rumor: Fremantle to acquire Lux Vide (prodco IT)
  • Amazon: Plans to hire 55k for corporate and technology roles (40k at 220 locations US, 2500 in UK, remainder mostly in India, Germany, Japan; currently 275k globally; current UK total 55k) + 10s of 1000s for operations network, also Project Kuiper, plans annual job fair Careere Day 210915
  • Facebook: DPC (Ireland) fines WhatsApp EUR 225m ($266m) over GDPR violations on transparency (gathering, usage, sharing with Facebook); plans appeal
  • Apple:
    • Plans to allow media apps (digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video; not games with in-app purchases) to create in-app links to sign-up pages for outside payment options (to bypass Apple's cut of subscriptions) in response to antitrust investigation from Japan Fair Trade Commission, to apply globally from early 2022
    • Rumor: talks with Asian car makers to launch Apple Car 2024

NETWORKS

  • Deutsche Telekom: Network update DE:
    • FTTH roll-out YTD 430k lines (total 30k km fiber) o/w 85k in July
    • 5G pops coverage reaches 85% (total 55k antennea), target 90% YE 2021; 5G-3600 reaches 2400 antennea at 800 locations in >60 cities; SA 5G reaches 4 cities (testing)
    • reconstruction in flooded areas progressing, 80% (80k HH) back online (parts of 17 towns to be rebuilt with FTTH, total 35k HH), 20k HH without fixed-line
    • current FTTH capex budget EUR 2b per yr for 1.2m lines/yr, to add >8m lines in rural communicaties (<20k pops) by 2030; current nationwide network: 600k km fiber, 34.3m premises with 50-100 max Mb/s o/w 26.1m with 250 max Mb/s, 2.5m max 1 Gb/s (FTTH), plans 10m FTTH lines YE 2024, nationwide by 2030
  • Axione (= Bouygues Energies & Services, Vauban Infrastructure Partners (= Natixis)) establishes Axione Fibre in UK to roll out OA wholesale-only FTTP in sub-urban & rural areas; to invest GBP 300m with equity partners; target 4m lines
  • Rumor: Telefonica (Virgin Media O2) plans fiber network expansion in UK - Telefonica invites external investors, total cost EUR 4-5b
  • 5G:
  • Ericsson Mobility Report 21Q2 (update):
    • total 8.1b subscriptions o/w 515m in W Europe (net adds 50m o/w 2m in W Europe), penetration 103% (W Europe 122%) at 6b subscribers (lower due to inactive subscriptions, multiple device ownership and/or optimization of subscriptions for different types of calls)
    • MBB 6.8b (net adds 100m)
    • 5G subscriptions with capable device 380m (net adds 84m)
    • 4G subscriptions 4.8b (net adds 71m)
    • total mobile data traffic 72 EB/mo (+44% yoy, +9% qoq)

MEDIA

  • Linear TV:
    • Screenforce TV ad market NL 21H1: EUR 406m (+32%), 2021E growth 20-25%
    • Orange BE launches Orange TV Lite, 8.50 EUR/mo for Love or Home subs, with TVE apps for Android & iOS (Orange TV Plus, max 5 devices), with cloud DVR, 2 versions: Dutch (16 channels), French (20 channels)
    • fuboTV: Launches free-to-play games & FanView live stats (out of beta), accompanying football
    • Locast:
      • Federal Judge denies Locast a summary judgement, allows copyright infringement lawsuit by ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC to continue (requirement to pay to avoid interruptions, is “not merely a recurring gift to a charitable cause”); has >3m users
      • Suspends operations
  • SVOD:
    • Wurl issues first Churn Analysis Report 2021 on US: rev lost in 21Q1 $33m for HBO Max, $17m for Netflix, $15m for Hulu, $15m for Disney+; churn April 2021: Netflix 2%, Disney+ 4%, Hulu 4%. HBO Max 5%
    • Leichtman Research survey US on SVOD Top 3 (Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu): 78% of HH subscribe to >= 1 (2020: 78%), 58% subscribe to >= 2 (2020: 55%)
  • Music:
    • Apple: Acquires Primephonic (classical music streaming, closes 210907, subs receive 6 mo free Apple Music), plans dedicated Apple Music Classical app 2022
    • Amazon: FT: Amazon Music had 63m subs at 210331

REGULATORY


Monday, August 30, 2021

Week 34 in Telecoms, Internet, Media

CORPORATE

  • KPN: Starts EUR 200m SBB [see 210727], to end 211130, first progress report 210830
  • Orange: Orange ES to phase out Amena brand Sep 2021, retains 3 brands: Orange, Jazztel, Simyo
  • SK Telecom: Launches T Universe: offering of 3rd-party subscription services (Google One, Starbucks, Xbox)
  • Vodafone: plans Vodafone Digital Services & Experiences Briefing 210929    
  • Salt: 21Q2    
  • Bouygues: 21Q2, confirms 2021 targets: organic rev growth 5%, EBITDA AL growth 7%, capex (excl spectrum) EUR 1.3b; maintains targets 2026: SR >EUR 7b, EBITDA AL EUR 2.5b (margin 35%), FCF EUR 600m
  • Iliad: Iliad board recommends offer to shareholders, based on BM&A Advisory & Support report (DCF and per comparison) [see 210730]
  • Altice: Altice PT establishes Infratower (223 macro sites, 464 small cells), sells to Cellnex, EUR 209m
  • CityFibre: Rumor: to sell minority stake to Mubadala Investment Co (Abu Dhabi) at $2.7b valuation - Rumor: to raise GBP 1b from debt (GBP 500m) & equity (GBP 500m stake to Mubadala at >GBP 2b valuation)
  • Google:
    • Bernstein: pays Apple $15b in 2021 to remain default search engine ($10b in 2020)
    • Court filing (in case brought by US AGs [see 210707]): Google App Store 2019 (sales of apps, in-app purchase, app store ads): rev $11.2b, gross profit $8.5b, oper income $7b (margin 62%); trial expected 2022
  • Forbes: Plans IPO through SPAC merger with Magnum Opus, ticker FRBS
  • Axel Springer: Acquires Politico (political news; 700 employees in N America, 200 in Europe) from Robert Albritton, rumored price >$1b
  • Comcast: Comcast Business acquires Masergy (SDN, cloud platforms for enterprises; 1400 customers in 100 countries), enables SD-WAN, UCaaS, etc

VIDEO

  • Netflix:
    • Plans global fan event TUDUM 210925 around stars from 70 original films & series
    • Tests 2 mobile games based on Stranger Things (Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3) in PL in Android app, free for subs, no ads, no in-game purchases
  • Amazon: Rumor (MLex): FTC asks for additional info on MGM deal [see 210709], closing not expected before 2022
  • NENT Group:
    • Acquires exclusive rights to female Serie A (Italy) for Nordics, Baltics, PL, NL up to 2022/23
    • NENT Group: Capital Markets Day 210922
  • WarnerMedia:
    • CNN: To end linear distribution in UK on Virgin, BT, Freesat to focus on CNN Live (launched June 2021; 2 GBP/mo ro 20 GBP/yr) at CNN.com and Sky
    • HBO Max to end distr via Amazon Channels [see 210108], to cost 5m subs, to focus on owning customer relationship
  • YouTube: Partner program reaches 2m creators
  • Parks for Everise US survey report 21Q1 The Evolving Digital Media Landscape
  • Freewheel (Comcast) US Video Marketplace Report (VMR) 21H1
  • DirecTV (AT&T 70%, TPG Capital 30%): DirecTV Stream launches 210826, drops 2-yr contract option    
  • Report: movie piracy increases due to day-and date releases

CRYPTO, NFT

HARDWARE

  • Facebook: Plans to launch AR glasses Gemini (Project Aria) [see 200916]: collects (not displays) data, with companion app Ariane, 4 cameras (photo & video), Oculus OS (based on Android), Qualcomm chipset
  • Ziggo launches SmartWifi Pods (connect over powerline): create WiFi mesh with ConnectBox (software updated, >2m users), tech from Plume, EUR 60 (2 for 100, 3 for 160, 5 for 260)
  • Telenet trials VR robot + VR glasses over 5G (VRiendje) at Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen (UZA): transport patient virtually to different location (home); developed by Horus VR

SECURITY

REGULATORY

  • Apple: Settles US CALS (Cameron et al, 67k developers) with developers over App Store: developers can share purchase options with users outside of their iOS app; expands the price points developers can offer for subscriptions, in-app purchases, paid apps to >500; establishes a new fund (Small Developers Assistance Fund, $100m; >50% receive $250, 6% receive $2000, 1% receive $30k) to assist qualifying US developers; to publish annual transparency report about the App Store; launches Apple News Partner Program, takes 15% commission rate - Spotify opposes: "Apple's recent changes do not address any of the core concerns Spotify and many others have with Apple"
  • China passes Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) into effect 211101 for personal information handlers
  • European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) advises against using search & browsing history and health data for credit scores


Monday, August 23, 2021

Week 33 in Telecoms, Internet, Media

CORPORATE

  • Deutsche Telekom: Rumor: OTE to sell 70% stake in Telekom Romania Mobile Communications (TRMC)
  • Vivendi: Canal+ LU to acquire A1now TV from A1 (Telekom Austria)

NETWORKS

  • Ookla Speedtest Global Index (July 2021) global average FBB 108/58 Mb/s, MBB 55/12 Mb/s; FBB: Monaco #1 (257), Sing #2 (256), HK #3 (249), Thai #4 (216), Romania #5 (215), NL #27 (162); MBB: UAE #1 (190), S Korea #2 (189), Qatar #3 (171), China #4 (158), Cyprus #5 (154), NL #13 (101)
  • OpenVault Broadband Insights Report 21Q2 (based on data from SaaS tech): US data: weighted average data consumption 434 GB/mo o/w 405 down and 28 up (+14% yoy, -6% qoq), median usage 274 GB/mo (+23% yoy, -5% qoq), power users (>1 TB/mo) 10.8% (20Q2: 8.7%), extreme power users (>2 TB/mo) 1.5% (20Q2 1.0%); users on >= 100 Mb/s tiers 80%, users on gigabit tiers 10.5% (20Q2: 4.75%), average download speed 231 Mb/s, upload 17 Mb/s; average 4 streaming services/HH, average 25 connected devices/HH; Europe data: weighted average data usage 190 GB/mo, median data usage 95 GB/mo
  • Satellite: AST SpaceMobile 21Q2; plans second prototype spacecraft BlueWalker 3, launch March 2022 on SpaceX; distr deal with MTN Group; plans total 168 sats, average cost per sat $10.0-11.5m; each sat 693 feet^2 (64 m^2)

VIDEO

  • SkyShowtime (50/50 Comcast, ViacomCBS): Plans SVOD launch 2022 in 22 Europe countries: ES, PT, Andorra, Nordics (DK, FI, NO, SE), NL, PL, CEE (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, CZ, HU, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, RO, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia), 90k HH, to offer premium & original content from Sky Studios, NBCU, Universal Pictures, Peacock, Paramunt+, Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon; to include scripted dramas, kids & family, key franchises, premiere movies, local programming, documentaries/factual content, total >10k hr; complement to recently announced Paramount+ partnership with Sky in UK/IE, IT, DE/CH/AT
  • MGM plans day-an-date (theater & TVOD) release of animated movie Addams Family 2 in US & Canada 211001

REGULATORY


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Week 32 in Telecoms, Internet, Media

CORPORATE

  • Deutsche Telekom
    • Bloomberg: Reliance Industries considers offer for T-Mobile NL
    • 21Q2
      • 5G reaches 82.4% pops coverage, calls for co-investment for nationwide FTTP by 2030
      • raises outlook 2021
      • Simpel acquisition by T-Mobile NL closed 201201, acquisition finalised 210603, based on call option agreed July 2019, cash payment EUR 259m + option fair value 26m + settlement 8m = EUR 293m total consideration
  • Freenet: 21Q2
  • AT&T: Shareholder update
    • focus on 5G, fiber, HBO Max, potential upside from DirecTV (70%)
    • targets 2021: investment $22b (o/w capex 17b + vendor financing 4b, excludes FirstNet reimbursements 1b), cash content spend 19b
    • C-band to launch end 2021, target coverage 200m pops YE 2023, target 30m fiber HP YE 2025
    • HBO Max to end distribution via Amazon Channels 21Q3 (impact included in guidance)
  • CK Hutchison: Rumor: Hutchison Telecom to sell Partner Comms 27% stake (Israel) to Apollo Global Mgt, ILS 800m = $250m
  • Walt Disney: 20/21Q3 (as of 210703)
    • streaming rev $4.3b (+57%), 173.7m subs; Disney+ reaches 116m subs (ARPU $4.16 (-10%)), ESPN+ 14.9m, Hulu 39.1m, Hulu With Live TV 3.7m
    • plans Disney+ Day 211111
    • Disney+ Hotstar to expand to Malaysia, Thailand 21Q3, full operation in Japan Oct 2021, expansion to SK, Taiwan, HK Nov 2021; Disney+ expansion to eastern Europe delayed to summer 2022, with launch in MEA; Star+ expansion to Latam Aug 2021
    • Disney+ delays price hike (to 9 EUR/mo or 90 EUR/yr) in Europe until 211103 (originally 210823)
    • buys out NHL (10%) from BAMTech, $350m, stake to 85%, MLB retains 15% (put option from Sep 2022)
    • Holiday movie Home Sweet Home Alone premieres on Disney+ 211112
  • Vivendi: Sells 7.1% UMG stake to Pershing Square (= Bill Ackman) + option on additional 2.9% by 210909, $2.8b, valuation EUR 35b = $41b
  • Betty Blocks: Raises $33m

NETWORKS & EQUIPMENT

SERVICES & CPE

  • SFR launches football packages for subs
    • Amazon Prime + RMC Sport for 14 EUR/mo
    • Amazon Prime + BeIN Sport (15 EUR/mo) + RMC Sport for 24 EUR/mo, add Le Pass Ligue 1 (Amazon, 13 EUR/mo) for total 37 EUR/mo
  • AT&T: Rumor: WarnerMedia to sell TMZ to Fox
  • TCL launches 5 and 6 Smart TV series, with Google TV
  • Samsung launches foldable smartphones (based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 & Android)
    • Galaxy Z Fold3 5G ($1800) & Galaxy Z Flip3 5G ($1000))
    • buds (Galaxy Buds 2 ($150))
    • smartwatches (Galaxy Watch4 ($250 with Bluetooth, $300 with 4G) & Galaxy Watch4 Classic ($350 with Bluetooth, $400 with 4G))
  • Honor launches Magic3 smartphone range (based on Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G and Google apps); basic model EUR 900, Pro model EUR 1100, Pro+ model EUR 1500

REGULATORY

  • Auction: Hakom (Croatia) raises EUR 48m from multiband auction (2x30 in 700 MHz band, 400 in 3.6 GHz band, 1000 in 26 GHz band; valid 15 yr) from Hrvatski Telekom, A1 Hrvatska, Telemach Hrvatska + smaller operators for 3.6 band + Eolo for 26 band
  • Platforms: US Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) propose Open App Markets Act: to allow sideloading, 3rd-party app stores, 3rd-party payment services
  • Security: GeoEdge (with InMobi, Verve Group): malvertising attack from Slovenia & Ukraine targeting consumer IoT devices (manipulate IoT devices, download apps without users’ content, theft of personal information & monetary instruments, tampering with home systems such as smart locks & surveillance cameras); antivirus apps & firewalls are not sufficient, requires continuously blocking infected ads in real-time


Sunday, August 08, 2021

Week 31 in Telecoms, Internet, Media

CORPORATE

  • Swisscom: 21Q2; raises outlook 2021: rev CHF 11.3b (unchanged), EBITDA 4.5b (from 4.4b), capex 2.2-2.3b (unchanged)
  • United Internet: 21Q2; raises guidance 2021: rev EUR 5.6b (from 5.5), EBITDA 1.25b (from 1.22); plans max EUR 160m (10%) SBB until 220430
  • 1&1: 21Q2; raises otlook 2021: rev EUR 3.10b (unchanged), EBITDA 670m (from 650m)
  • AT&T: Closes transaction with TPG Capital; DIRECTV to own & operate DIRECTV, AT&T TV & U-verse video services (now called DirecTV Stream); AT&T has 70% of combination (receives $7.1b cash, transfers $195m debt; HBO Max and Regional Sports Networks excluded), TPG 30% (contributes $1.8b cash) [see 210517]
  • CK Hutchison: 21Q2; impairment HKD 15.5b on Wind Tre
  • RTL: 21Q2, streaming (NL, DE) >3m subs (+72%) o/w 2.029m for TVNOW (RTL+) and 1.016m for Videoland (RTL NL), rev EUR 107m (+34%), plans Fremantle expansion via M&A (rationale: high-end factual, scale to become preferred partner for streamers, acquisitions for talent & content; target rev 2025E EUR 3.0b from 1.5b in 2020), raises 2021 outlook: rev EUR 6.5b (from 6.2), adj EBITDA 1050m (from 975), adj EBITDA before streamer start-up losses 1200m (from 1125); plans RTL+ int expansion from 2022; RTL DE to acquire German publishing assets & brands (Stern, Brigitte, Geo, Capital, Schöner Wohnen, Eltern, Art) from Gruner + Jahr, EUR 230m, joint editorial team 1500 journalists, synergies 100m EUR/yr from 2025, pro forma 2020 rev EUR 2.63b, adj EBITDA 496m, rationale: scale & resources, boost RTL+, journalistic powerhouse; cross-country competencies in ad tech (smartclip, YOSP CE), streaming tech (BR Bedrock), int ad sales (RTL AdConnect), other (ENEX, FC Group, bce)
  • Square: Offer for Afterpay, $29b ion stock, premium 30%
  • Superhuman raises $75m: email productivity app, 30 $/mo
  • Rakuten acquires OpenRAN partner Altiostar Networks, valuation >$1b

NETWORKS

  • Delta Fiber (EQT) raises EUR 1.45b (to be extended by EUR 600m) debt underwritten by ABN Amro, ING, SEB, Santander, DB to expand FTTP to 2m premises YE 2025 using XGS-PON (from Sep 2021; later 25G-PON), to focus on small towns; claims current total construction capacity 800k premises/yr; to avoid towns where others have announced plans; 'We zijn op weg de derde infrastructuur van Nederland te worden voor vast internet'; currently 900k premises, adding 20k premises/mo
  • Rakuten establishes Symphony
  • 1&1 orders virtualised Open RAN and Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP; stack of access, core, cloud, operations solutions) from Rakuten; core of 4 datacenters, decentralized datacenters to be connected via 1&1 Versatel

SOFTWARE & SERVICES

  • Netflix: Companion VR experience (30 min) to movie Army of the Dead launches at Westfield Century City parking garage
  • NENT Group: Partners with wiip (studio US) to produce originals for Viaplay; first climate change anthology series The Uninhabitable Earth (premiere 2022)
  • YouTube: Launches Shorts Fund, $100 over 2021-22 (100-10k $/creator)
  • Spotify: Rumor: tests paid-with-ads tier Spotify Plus, 1 $/mo
  • Microsoft launches Windows 365 (Cloud PC service), from 20 (single virtual core, 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage) to 162 (eight virtual cores, 32 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage) $/mo/user
  • Miami launches CityCoin (cryptocurrency): programmable city-based tokens (unlock new community-driven revenue stream for local governments, engage & incentivise citizens); mining started, based on Stacks protocol
  • Google: Plans to launch Pixel 6 (6.4 inch, 90 Hz) & Pixel 6 Pro (6.7 inch, 120 Hz) autumn 2021, based on own Tensor SoC, Titan M2 security chip

REGULATORY

  • Facebook: EC deepens investigation of Kustomer acquisition [see 201130] after finding concerns over misuse consumer data from Kustomer to give it an unfair advantage in personalised advertising
  • Twitter: Curation team partners with AP & Reuters to add more context to news & trends, aid with use of public service announcements during high-visibility events, misinformation labels etc



Monday, August 02, 2021

Week 28-30 in Telecoms, Internet, Media

CORPORATE

  • KPN: 21Q2; opex savings 9m, YTD 30m target 2021-23 250m; maintains outlook, capex FTTP 2021 450-500m, capex for FTTP drops after 2026; plans SBB EUR 200m in 2021; ambitions Consumer: preferred digital partner for households (1. best digital access with fiber, 5G, in-home WiFi, 2. best digital omni-channel experience with mobile-first & app-centric customer approach, 3. best digital 3-party services through entertainment partnerships); business clear segmented customer focus for SME, LCE, Tailored Solutions; Glaspoort closing (210609) deal: to receive cash (238m on closing + 234m contingent (financial asset, fair value 218m) in annual installments), net book gain 649m (gross 840m + 191m tax expense), carrying amount of 50% stake 495m (incl  share premium contribution paid 39m), net cash flow 217m (under CF from investing)
  • Orange
    • Interested in acquiring stake in Ethio Telecom (Ethiopia)
    • 21Q2, impairment EUR 3.7b on Orange ES
    • Investor Conference on Orange MEA (targets 2023: rev growth 6%, EBITDA AL growth DD), Orange Business Services (rev CAGR 2022-23 2%, EBITDA AL to return to growth in 2022), Orange Cyberdefense (rev growth DD, EBITDA AL margin to double in medium term)
  • Orange BE: 21Q2
  • Telefonica: Plans acquisitions in Brazil
  • BT
  • Proximus: 21Q2
  • VOO: Rumor: Nethys has shortlist of bidders out of 20 candidates
  • Vodafone:
  • Liberty Global
    • 21Q2; expands cost savings Sunrise UPC by CHF 50m (cost to captrue CHF 100m), total runrate CHF 325m (NPV CHF 3.7b); Virgin Media O2 plans fiull fiber upgrade by 2028 (to potentially pursue broadband wholesale market in UK), "costing marginally more than our previously planned Docsis 4 migration, and only a modest annual increase to our current capital expenditure budget"; confirms 2021 targets: adj FCF $1.35b (+26%); plans SBB in 3 yr of >= 10% of market cap; received offer for UPC PL from Iliad at 9.3x adj EBITDA 2021E = EV PLN 7.3b
    • VodafoneZiggo: 21Q2; maintains guidance: adj EBITDA growth 1-3%, capex/sales 19-21%, cash distribution EUR 550-650m; on track for nationwide 1 Gb/s by 2022
    • Telenet: 21Q2
    • Sunrise UPC: 21Q2
  • Iliad
    • Liberty Global: "We recently received a non-binding offer from Iliad SA to acquire 100% of our UPC Poland business at 9.3x its 2021E Adjusted EBITDA (PLN 782m), reflecting an enterprise value of PLN 7.3 billion ($1.9 billion). Discussions are in process and there can be no certainty that a transaction will ultimately be consummated."
    • 21Q2
    • Xavier Niel launches tender offer: 182 EUR/share for 12 trading days (through HoldCo II = HoldCo = Xavier Niel, currently owns 42,112,852 shares with 72,340,678 voting rights = 70.63% of capital and 78.67% of voting)
  • Cyfrowy Polsat: To rename to Polsat Box
  • PPF: Sells Telenor Montenegro to 4iG, to close 211130
  • Adamo (EQT): Rumor: EQT to collect offers
  • Tele2: 21Q2; 25% T-Mobile NL stake value increased to SEK 7106m = EUR 697m
  • Gamma: 21Q2 trading statement: growth in line with market expectations; outlook 2021  maintained
  • Vivendi
    • Sells 5% Mediaset stake to Fininvest, 2.70 EUR/share = EUR 160m, to sell entire 19.19% stake held by Simon Fiduciaria on the market
    • 21Q2
  • TF1 (Bouygues): 21Q2
  • NENT Group
    • 21Q2; raises Viaplay target from 250 to 500k subs YE 2021
    • Distr deal in PL with Vectra (1.7m subs)
    • Distr deal in PL with UPC Polska: to be part of TV packages, with promos, STB integration
  • NBCU
    • Rumor: FandangoNow (NBCU 70%, WarnerMedia 30%) to merge with Vudu (NBCU 70%, WarnerMedia 30%)
    • 21Q2: Peacock 20m subs, reaches total 54m sign-ups/MAU, plans roll-out in Europe (UK, IE, IT, DE, AT, CH) as free add-on for Sky subs: AVOD, 7k hr     
  • Lionsgate: Acquires 20% stake in Spyglass Media Group (library of 200 feature films)
  • Netflix: 21Q2; to add mobile games (no extra cost) as new content category; no plans to add live sports; no M&A plans
  • Spotify: 21Q2
  • Google: 21Q2 
  • Amazon: 21Q2
  • Facebook: 21Q2; outlook 21H2: modest growth deceleration, outllok 2021: expenses $70-73b (technical & product talent, infrastructure, consumer hardware-related costs), capex $19-21b (data centers, servers, network infrastructure, office facilities), tax rate high teens; plans smart glasses (made by Ray-Ban = EssilorLuxottica)
  • Twitter: 21Q2; to focus on bitcoin (to invest aggressively, opens up entirely new use cases for everyone on Twitter), AI (to increase relevance & discovery), decentralisation (to improve the quality of conversations) for growth
  • Snap: 21Q2
  • Pinterest: 21Q2
  • Microsoft: 21Q2; Teams reaches 250m MAU, 80m Phone MAU

FTTH

  • Telefonica: Telefonica Colombia to spin off FTTH network, sells 60% stake to KKR, $300m    
  • Telefonica DE: O2 to provide fixed-line services over Tele Columbus (2.4m HP) from 210721, total reach 26m HP
  • Proximus: Wallon OA FTTP JV with Eurofiber launches as Unifiber, to invest >EUR 800m over 10 yr; targets several 10s of thousands of premises by YE 2023 (first in Waterloo, Morlanwelz), 100k premises/yr from 2024, >= 500k by 2028
  • Telenor: Telenor DK access deal with Onefiber (OpenNet) for FTTP network (100k premises)
  • Adamo: To raise EUR 600-900m to expand in rural areas (3.2m premises)

VIDEO

  • VodafoneZiggo
    • Ziggo Sport licenses Ligue 1 (football FR) rights (coming seasons, from beIN (holds rights until 23/24 season)); extends rights for several years to IndyCar series, Formula E, Six Nations (rugby, men & women); adds BNXT League rights (BE/NL basketball) from Feb 2022
    • To expand Ziggo Movies & Series offering
  • Pathe Thuis: Launches Premium Films service for new films (15 EUR/film)
  • CuriosityStream: To launch linear channel, with Spiegel TV Wissen & Autentic, as relaunch of Spiegel TV Wissen in DE, CH, AT
  • Netflix
    • Extends Shonda Rhimes (ICM Partners) deal to include films, games, VR content, branding & merchandising, live events & experiences, extends by 5 yr, rumored upfront payment $150m, total value (incl bonuses) $300-400m - Rumor: could include Bridgerton video game, Bridgerton fan convention [see 210521]
    • Extends & expands licensing deal with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (Illumination), to include DreamWorks Animation, multi-yr: animated feature films in US, exclusive (window 4 mo after Peacock)     
    • Bloomberg: appoints Mike Verdu (formerly EA, Facebook/Oculus) VP Game Development, to launch streaming games within 1 yr, will not charge extra
    • Plans first store in Tokyo, 22H1
    • Paris Theater (movie theater NYC, leased for 10 yr Nov 2019) reopens 210806
  • Walt Disney
    • Scarlett Johansson sues over PVOD release of Black Widow for breach of contract; rumored: she lost $50m in bonuses [see 210711] - Disney opposes (no merit, she received $20m to date)
    • Day-and-date release of adventure movie Jungle Cruise (Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt) raises $34m in theaters N America (4310 screens) + $30m on Disney+ globally (PVOD, $30) + $28m from international theaters (47 countries) on opening weekend
  • WarnerMedia
    • HBO/HBO Max reaches 67.5m subs at 21Q2 (o/w 47.0m in US), raises target to 70-73m subs YE 2021 (from 67-70) - Plans >10 original movies for HBO Max in 2022; theater window to be reduced to 45 days - Delays HBO Max launch in several countries Europe to early 2022
    • To launch CNN+ 22Q1 first in US, to add 450 staff (currently 4k): SVOD and TVE app for pay-TV subs (linear TV feeds of CNN, CNN International, HLN, CNN en Español channels exclusively for pay-TV subs), news, non-fiction, long-form, live programming (8-12 hr/day), original series, catalog content, localized features

MUSIC

WEB SERVICES

  • Facebook: CEO Zuckerberg plans migration to become metaverse (embodied internet, decentralized) [see 200916, 201215] - Establishes product group, head Vishal Shah (Instagram)
  • Twitter
  • Snap: Acquires Vertebrae (AR shopping: lets brands create and manage 3D versions of their goods; 50 employees)
  • Pinterest: Adds features allowing creators to get fees from shoppable pins
  • Square: Acquires Crew: messaging app for frontline workers (helps companies communicate with large groups of employees through broadcast messages, or target only certain groups, such as workers at certain locations or managers only)
  • Microsoft to launch Windows 365 210802 to create cloud PCs for businesses: streams Windows 10 or 11 in browser or Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app; 2 tiers (editions): Business, Enterprise, powered by Azure Virtual Desktop

TELCO SERVICES

HARDWARE

  • GSA 5G devices update 210630: 873 devices (o/w 557 commercially available) in 22 form factors from 131 vendors; 431 phones (o/w 38 commercially available), 158 FWA devices (o/w 56 commercially available), 119 modules, 53 enterprise routers/modems, 39 hotspots, 15 laptops, 16 tablets, 10 in-vehicle routers/modems/hotspots, 32 other
  • HMD Gobal launches Nokia XR20 smartphone (from EUR 500: rugged, 5G, Zeiss Optics), C30 feature phone (EUR 100, 6.8 inch), Nokia 6310 feature phone (EUR 40); deal with Spotify to pre-install; 30 day free ExpressVPN trial
  • Motorola launches Edge 20 Pro (from EUR 700), Edge 20 (from EUR 500), Edge 20 Lite (from EUR 350)
  • Vodafone ES launches Vodafone TV 4K Pro: STB made by Sagemcom, 5 EUR/mo rental for FMC subs (V-Home software, audio functionality designed by Bang & Olufsen, integrated Dolby Atmos speakers, 4K HDR, voice control via Alexa, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Bluetooth-enabled voice-control remote)
  • Swisscom adds blue TV app for Apple TV
  • Free allows Apple TV as STB, 2 EUR/mo for 48 mo

NETWORKS

  • Nokia and Vodafone jointly developed ML-product, running on Google Cloud, to quickly detect & remediate network anomalies
  • Comcast deploys tech for locating fiber cable breaks within 90 sec
  • Fixed
    • Virgin Media O2 plans full fiber (15.5m lines; not Docsis 4.0 at 60 GBP/home) by 2028
  • 5G
    • IBM Inst for Business Value report on 5G and edge computing
    • Vodafone UK to supply UK Power Networks with network slice (trial, with General Electric, ABB, Siemens, Univ of Strathclyde) to build Constellation (smart substation trial)
    • Vodafone UK report: 5G (incl Private 5G) to contribute GBP 6.3b to manufacturing industry by 2030
  • Satellite

REGULATORY

  • Spectrum
    • Spain raises EUR 1.1b from 700 auction; 2x10 MHz (until 2041, automatic renewal for 20 yr) each for Telefonica (EUR 310m), Vodafone (350m), Orange (350m) + annual fee (EUR 15m for each)
  • Platforms
  • Google
    • Autorité de la concurrence (FR) fines EUR 500m over failing to negotiate in good faith over neighboring rights of Google News Service (daily fine EUR 900k) 
    • Publishes Privacy Sandbox timeline, to phase out 3rd-party cookies 23H2 
    • EC & national Consumer Authorities (incl ACM) call on Google to comply with consumer rules - EU orders to improve hotel, flight search results within 2 mo (improve presentation, explain ranking)  
  • Amazon
  • Facebook: EDPB orders urgent probe into how WhatsApp uses data