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ETNO
European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association

2017

| ETNO

European telecoms: 5G and fibre efforts grow, but the EU investment boom is still to come

Brussels, 7 December 2017 – The European Telecom sector has delivered the highest investment levels of the past 6 years, but investment per capita in the EU is still less than half than in the US and Europe is expected to trail both Asia and the States in the 5G race, despite leadership in some countries.

Key facts and figures on the European telecom sector have been unveiled today in the Annual Economic Report prepared for ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s leading telcos, by IDATE DigiWorld, the digital economy think-tank. The Report presents consolidated figures from 2016, as well as projections for 2017 and for the coming years.

The findings of the Report come at a crucial time, as the EU strives to achieve the Gigabit Society objectives, including timely deployment of 5G and gigabit networks.

European telecoms: 5G and fibre efforts grow, but the EU investment boom is still to come

Brussels, 7 December 2017 – The European Telecom sector has delivered the highest investment levels of the past 6 years, but investment per capita in the EU is still less than half than in the US and Europe is expected to trail both Asia and the States in the 5G race, despite leadership in some countries.

Key facts and figures on the European telecom sector have been unveiled today in the Annual Economic Report prepared for ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s leading telcos, by IDATE DigiWorld, the digital economy think-tank. The Report presents consolidated figures from 2016, as well as projections for 2017 and for the coming years.

The findings of the Report come at a crucial time, as the EU strives to achieve the Gigabit Society objectives, including timely deployment of 5G and gigabit networks.

Efforts increase, but the investment gap remains startling

European telcos have enhanced their investment efforts for the past 6 years, with the Capital Expenditure (CapEx)/Revenue ratio reaching 17.7% in 2016. Despite this, EU investment growth remained sluggish with a +0.2% growth compared to 2015. The total sector investment in 2016 was €47.2bn. In addition, the EU-US investment gap is still startling, with the US investment per capita being the double than the European one (€193.3 vs. €92.9).
ETNO member companies remain the main investor in the European Gigabit Society, as they represent almost 70% of fixed CapEx and 54.4% of mobile CapEx in the EU. Together, ETNO members and cable operators are the biggest investors, with almost 83% of the total sector investment in 2016.

Telecom service revenue still low

As the pressure for 5G and fibre deployment grows, the hope for revenues stabilisation is much welcome. According to IDATE DigiWorld forecasts, EU telecom service revenues should grow +0.1% in in 2017 and reach €222.6bn. Mobile is confirmed as the main contributor to EU telcos revenues with €112.6bn.

Progress on networks, but 5G leadership in question

The take up of 4G lines surpassed 3G lines for the first time this year, with 348.7m 4G subscriptions as opposed to 316.4m 3G subscriptions. At the same time, yet more improvements happened on the fixed side, with an increase of the lines for all faster technologies, including VDSL, FTTH/B and Docsis.
On 5G, there are important commercial deployments expected already in 2018, with key ETNO companies leading the way. However, at an aggregate level, EU28 is expected to trail both the Americas and Asia in terms of 5G subscriptions forecasts. In 2025, IDATE DigiWorld expects Asia to lead with 960m subscribers, followed by the Americas with 329m and EU28 with 178m. ETNO companies remain leaders NGA networks with 56% of the sockets deployed, including FTTH/B

Lise Fuhr, ETNO Director General, said: “Deployment of 5G and fibre requires a step change in investment efforts. We are very worried that this is no longer reflected in the Electronic Communications Code negotiations, which are currently considered as a major negative signal by investors”.

The ETNO - IDATE Annual Economic Report 2017 is available at this link.

Members & Observers - View companies map

  • Albtelecom
  • Proximus
  • Eir
  • Elisa Communications Corporation
  • GO Plc (Malta)
  • Hrvatski Telekom
  • Koninklijke KPN
  • Lattelecom
  • Magyar Telekom
  • Makedonski Telekom
  • Orange
  • OTE
  • Portugal Telecom
  • Síminn (Iceland Telecom Ltd.)
  • Slovak Telekom
  • Swisscom
  • TDC
  • TDF
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefónica
  • Telekom Austria
  • Telekom Slovenije
  • Orange Polska
  • Telenor
  • Telia Company
  • Turk Telekom
  • Vivacom
  • Deutsche Telekom AG
  • CYTA (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority)
  • BT
  • BH Telecom
  • TELEKOM ROMANIA COMMUNICATIONS S.A.
  • POST Group

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