Which operator growth strategies will remain viable in 2017 and beyond?

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Global telecoms growth has slowed since 2009, but some operators have enjoyed compound annual growth rates of up to 25% over this period. This report examines the financial results of 68 operators over the last seven years, identifies seven successful growth strategies, and evaluates which ones will deliver the best results in 2017 and beyond.


Format: PDF filePages: 36 pagesCharts: 19Author: Chris BarracloughPublication Date: December 2016

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Objectives
  • Methodology
  • Global, regional and company growth since 2009
  • The end of meteoric telecommunications services’ growth
  • Some regional differences but growth is slowing for operators everywhere
  • Surprisingly consolidated from a financial perspective
  • Consolidation is (slowly) increasing
  • Huge variation in individual operator’s revenue growth rates
  • Flat or declining revenue inevitably correlated with lower profits
  • Seven growth strategies used between 2009-2016
  • Introduction
  • Strategy 1: Enter newly liberalised countries
  • Strategy 2: Acquire other major established telecoms operators
  • Strategy 3: Enjoy the ride in attractive home market
  • Strategy 4: Price-led ‘challenger’ strategy
  • Strategy 5: Stronger penetration in existing developing &/or growing markets
  • Strategy 6: Cost-cutting for profit growth
  • Strategy 7: Develop or acquire new enabling or end user businesses and services
  • Which growth strategies are viable in 2017 and beyond?
  • The importance of each strategy has changed over time for many operators…
  • …and STL Partners predicts that two strategies will start to dominate in future

Table of Figure

  • Figure 1: The sixty-eight operators evaluated in this report
  • Figure 2: Aggregate revenue and growth rate for the sixty-eight players, 2009-2016
  • Figure 3: Revenue split and growth rates by region, 2009-2016
  • Figure 4: Aggregate revenue distribution across the sixty-eight operators, 2009-2016
  • Figure 5: Aggregate operating profit distribution across the sixty-eight operators, 2009-2016
  • Figure 6: Average operating margins for the sixty-eight operators, 2009-2016
  • Figure 7: The big get bigger – revenue and growth rates by operator size, 2009-2016
  • Figure 8: Revenue compound annual growth rates by operator, 2009-2015
  • Figure 9: Revenue vs operating profit growth rates by operator, 2009-2015
  • Figure 10: Viettel’s approach to entering newly liberalised markets
  • Figure 11: The impact of M&A on the ten biggest global operators, 2009-2015
  • Figure 12: How du’s focus on the attractive UAE market has yielded results
  • Figure 13: Price-led ‘challenger strategy’ in action – T-Mobile’s ‘Uncarrier’ initiative
  • Figure 14: Focusing on developing markets – South America has partially offset issues in Europe for Telefonica
  • Figure 15: Japan and UK suggest that increasing demand for mobile broadband will not result in eternal revenue growth
  • Figure 16: BT’s operating expenditure as a % of revenue, 2009-2015
  • Figure 17: Telenor’s performance shows the challenge for telcos to grow organic digital revenues
  • Figure 18: Telstra’s M&A strategy to break into the healthcare market
  • Figure 19: The seven growth strategies evaluated for suitability in 2017 and beyond

Technologies and industry terms referenced include: financials, Operator growth, revenue decline, Strategy, Telco 2, telco M&A