The ETNO report provides an interesting snapshot of the European market, covering everything from 5G and fibre to IoT and renewable energy
The annual report from the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) presents a host of useful statistics in its annual report.
In the field of 5G, Europe had launched 20 networks in 9 European countries in 2019; this number is set to more than quadruple in the coming year. However, the report noted the challenge presented by inflated spectrum prices, which were in some countries up to 14-times higher than global averages.
Spectrum in Italy, for example, has been previously identified by a GSA-supported study as being extortionately high compared to the global average, at $0.424 per MHz per pop.
The report was critical of governments that it deemed were using spectrum auctions to squeeze the maximum amount of profit from telcos, without considering the knock-on effects these high prices would have on its citizens.
Total investment in European networks was €48.6 billion, of which European operators contributed over 70%. In terms of investment, European companies have the highest ratio of capex to revenue compared to their international peers, such as Japan, the USA, and South Korea.
Nonetheless, per capita investment in Europe remains comparatively low, at just over half of the global average (€89 versus €177 per person, respectively).
The report suggests that one way to overcome this investment problem is to increase efficiency in the form of network sharing agreements, which are already springing up around the continent.
For fibre, coverage continues to improve, with FTTP networks reaching 41 million households last year, picking up 7 million on the previous year’s total.
Finally, the words ‘corporate social responsibility’ have been on the lips of many telecoms companies in the past few years, so it is encouraging to see that carbon intensity of ETNO members is decreasing, dropping from 32g per euro earned in 2018 to 29g in 2019. Around 50% of the energy used by these companies also came from renewable sources by the end of 2019.
With an ever-increasing demand for data, energy usage is a growing problem for telcos. This is another area where network sharing could have a considerable impact.
Overall, the report paints a positive picture of the European telecoms industry: slightly stagnant in places, but generally improving in a variety of key metrics.
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