Written by Scott Bicheno
Telecoms.com partnered with mobile industry consultancy Northstream to bring you ten predictions for the telecoms industry in the coming year.
1. The EC’s negative view and ruling on market consolidation stalls M&A activity
Northstream unfortunately believes that during 2016, regulators will continue their hard and negative stance against market consolidation in the European mobile telecoms market. As a result, the potential mergers between Three/O2 in the UK and Three/Wind in Italy will not be approved. As a reaction to the negative ruling, operators across Europe will stall M&A activity and instead investigate alternative ways of cutting costs. Measures we will see are reduced CAPEX, even more network sharing, streamlining and out-sourcing.
Despite cost cutting, it’s only the top two or three players that have credible and solid business cases with which to deliver meaningful revenues and profits. The desire for M&A activity, therefore, is simply a natural evolution of the market. In the end, the EC will be forced to realize the new reality of the industry and re-evaluate their stance on in-market consolidation. As a result, 2016 will be a lost year for investments in Europe. By 2018, at the very latest, the current stance will change. Meanwhile, the regions that understand that consolidation is inevitable will be able to attract investment and gain an advantage.