WACCy thoughts. A discussion of issues
related to the cost of capital and WACC
This is an unconventional discussion of WACC related issues.
It is designed to provoke thoughts and discussions to help anyone involved in cost modelling and pricing, that needs
to consider WACC values. This is not a tutorial. No claim is made for the accuracy of any statement - some may
even be made up!
Click here to download report on WACC issues
Broadband capacity needed - a guide to network
modelling with varying customer traffic demands
This paper examines three methods used to model fixed
and mobile broadband. A normal (conventional) approach based on traffic statistics, an approach based on erlang theory
and switched circuits, or modelling using oversell (overbooking factors). The first is easy and reflects reality, if
basic parameters are understood. Erlangs can provide useful results even if broadband systems rarely use switched circuits,
so it is not normally a robust method. Oversell factors could be reasonable but have a high risk of large errors.
Managers can benefit from understanding these modelling foundations. Those starting to understand and make network
models will find it useful.
Click here to download report on broadband capacity modelling with customer demands
Duct/digging and fibre-to-premise infrastructure
are major growth areas
Many telcos are hoping for lower costs and new revenues from increasing
investment levels in infrastructure. The lower costs are shifting business plans. This is happening but seems less
discussed than (say) on-line services and 5G "use cases" that do not relate to revenues that most telcos can
address. Digging cables is a priority area that impacts governments, investors, regulators and both fixed and mobile
Click here to download report on digging and infrastructure investment
Analysis of Vodafone trading data
report looks at Vodafone Group and country-specific numbers. The performance is not good but there is no major
decline. The Fixed line business has grown to compensate for Mobile declines. Covid has not caused a boost.
5G has not provided a major boost. It is used to add capacity and reduce costs. Vodafone has a longer term strategy
for fixed, and 5G. It is (sensibly?) not drawn into downstream applications and Internet services. It focusses
on being a telco, not a content or on-line service provider. The reality is counter to some expectations for
5G "transformational changes," as these are beyond the telecom-market's reach. The report is relevant
to most markets, operators, industry leaders and analysts.
Click here to download report on Vodafone and telco markets
Notes on telecoms claims and confirmation of a basic network modelling formula
examines claims based on a LinkedIn discussion. The paper has additional material. It highlights the
need for decision makers to understand if sources use robust analysis and to have a full understanding of market trends and
traffic impacts. If not done, investment mistakes may happen - possibly persuaded by incorrect claims.
Click here to download report on claims and formula verification
Rural Fixed Wireless Access has a role but
this is limited in developed-internet countries
This paper examines the key factors that limit FWA in
rural areas. The potential is limited due to the traffic volumes and mast-capacity related issues. This paper
includes graphical analysis to help understand the key factors and how they are related. The paper also notes a general
business concern: claims that are factually correct yet can also be false/misleading.
Click here to download FWA report
Satellites have huge potential but traffic
limits mean that established F&M players are not worried
This paper looks at traffic and geographic
limits. This shows that satellites cannot carry more than a small percentage of developed-market broadband traffic.
So the focus is on under-served areas and demand. This is a positive addition to the markets. Significant substitution
is not feasible. This is in line with Elon Musk comments. A deeper question is, why anyone claims major developed-market
telcos will be adversely affected? Since posting this paper I noticed the numbers & points fit (of course) with the
strategic points of a McKinsey paper.
Click here to download report on satellites
Professional service companies need to develop
better business ethics
The global political landscape changes and moral standards in business
may have weakened. This implies that we all need new frameworks for when work is accepted. This paper argues
that we need to say "No" more often. This ethical improvement is strategic. It adds on to the need to
improve both the details of what is done within a project and how reports or analyses are carried out, as discussed in
the paper below on telecom claims.
Click here to download report on business ethics
Discussion of telecoms claims and how they
impact professional services
Telecoms is a complex industry and there are often different views
on many different subjects. This is normal and healthy. Early in 2020 there were some new claims related to the
Covid-19 virus outbreak. This highlighted how some claims are fanciful. Telzed has issued this report to
look at these, and other claims. The report shows a need for more-careful actions and measured statements from
consultants and analysts. Opinions are still valid, but more care is probably required by everyone involved. The
paper is intended to promote thought and debate.
Click here to download the report on claims
UK Market data provides insights that are
The 2019 Ofcom market data has been reviewed. Most of the same trends
and issues seen in the Telzed 2012 review remain (see below). Key highlights include:
is almost static.
- Speed increases per year in fixed
broad have slowed significantly, despite moves to FTTC and FTTP. This is counter to Ofcom/DCMS plans/targets.
It is counter to Nielsen’s law. There is a logical explanation.
has made no significant in-roads to fixed broadband. Fixed growth is undiminished (#lines and #Gbyte). Mobile
traffic grows but remains consistently less than 4% of the total. This is counter to “mobile and 4G/5G is the
use mobile more often and it plays a bigger part in life/work: many more web sites or apps per Gbyte are used.
But mobile networks are driven by the traffic volume, so significant substitution of fixed lines remains unlikely/impossible.
coverage with 4G is as much an issue as it was with 3G.
deeper implications of these are discussed. Such understandings are needed in every country, even if the local
situations can be quite different. Variations of the insights should be relevant globally. Since posting the paper,
Ofcom has published an in depth analysis of smart phone usage. This emphasises that mobile networks are not used much - most smart phone device usage
is over fixed/WiFi (69% of time and ~80% of the devices' traffic). Another subsequent EU paper shows similar outcomes (using Cisco data: see 4G & 5G offloading). This shows how a mobile dominant market is fanciful
in UK-like countries. Other reports show that huge numbers of new masts might be needed, but with negligible revenue
increases including lack of IoT monies so far, and the obvious inability of 5G to give always-on signals in a wide area or
in buildings, the real potential is more clear. A key message is that 5G devices increase fixed line usage more
than mobile use - they are "WiFi devices, occasionally used on mobile networks." This can be discussed further
by contact with R Steele.
Click here to download pdf file on telecom market implications
Mobile and 5G claims
grows and plays a bigger role in life. 5G continues this trend but there are also claims that there will be transformational
changes in the industry and ways that mobile is used. The below papers show that some claims for mass substitution
of fixed lines and fixed broadband traffic are very unlikely in developed markets like the UK - technical limits show that
huge mast numbers would be needed. This July 2019 paper highlights a few of the claims. If some claims are clearly
fanciful, then are other claims also in doubt? Furthermore, why are some questionable claims being made?
Click here to download pdf file on mobile/5G claims
Fixed-line broadband substitution by mobile
This May 2019 paper looks further
at when mobile or FWA can substitute for fixed line broadband. This builds on earlier papers and looks more closely
at how current markets impact the outcomes.
Click here to download pdf on fixed substitution
Submission to Ofcom's Broadband USO Consultation
This 2019 paper discusses the definition of a broadband USO service and enhances the proposed
Ofcom definition. It avoids the use of contention ratio values that do not fit with the monthly download and speed definitions.
Target speed and download values are defined to change over time to reflect market changes. The paper provides two formulae
that assist with dimensioning any network to deliver a known traffic volume per month, to customers, given the limitations
of capacity of a mast or street concentration system. This has wider application than USO. The paper ignores the
many other questions raised by the Consultation to focus on the USO service definition - a definition that can be adjusted
to other countries' requirements. NB the discussion on why it is not sensible to split a 50Mbit/s mast to 5
x 10Mbit/s services, is not strictly correct as it over-simplifies the analysis while trying to keep network statistics
out of the paper, but the main message that splitting a resource usually reduces the number of customers or potential
amounts of traffic, is generally true.
Cick here to download USO paper
need for speed: a discussion on broadband internet speed requirements to assist with strategic plans
needed or desired broadband speed is a hotly debated subject. Recent claims have been made that 5G will deliver
in excess of 1Gbit/s. Average speeds in fixed or mobile are currently far below that value. The analysis
must include the average usage in the busy period, that is related to the monthly downloads (see guide to broadband usage
below). As the subject is controversial, the issues and any values are open to debate: feedback and discussions
Click here to download pdf file on the need for broadband speed
Mobile demand and site numbers
mobile traffic often requires more sites. This is a major cost issue for the mobile operators, and similar cost drivers
impact Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) plans. The impact of site numbers on 5G is significant - as identified by a 2018
McKinskey report. This Telzed paper identifies the key numbers and strategic issues, building on the below Telzed guide
to broadband usage. It aligns with the McKinsey numbers and insights.
Click here to download pdf file on site numbers and demand
Broadband strategic issues
paper follows on from the Broadband Usage paper below, issued in April 2017. This new paper discusses how the fixed
and mobile usage levels affect strategic options. It discusses if fixed or mobile can substitute and how
the solutions can converge. Different strategies are seen likely for developed markets, city states and emerging
markets. Lessons from history are included to emphasise the risks as major mobile (5G) and fixed (FTTH) investments
are being planned.
Click here to download pdf report on broadband strategy ideas
A guide to broadband usage
Broadband usage is discussed in this paper. This shows that
the broadband speed is not the only measure that matters - the monthly downloads and the effective average download speed
in the busy period are critical. This drives the network capacity costs. Understanding this is vital for
all decision makers. This usage also means that mobile networks will often struggle to have the performance of fixed
networks and cannot substitute for fixed line services, for more than a limited percentage of consumers. UK data shows
that huge changes are required in mobile networks to "take on" fixed-line broadband as mobile usage is so far behind
that of fixed, and the required cell numbers and capacities would have to be very large. Some other countries could
be more centred on mobile broadband. A convergence of fixed and mobile networks is noted and a combined fixed-mobile
strategy is sensible. This has profound implications for policies, business planners and regulators.
Click here to download pdf file on broadband capacity and mobile network implications
Analysis of the implications of Ofcom's conclusions from the Digital Strategy
Ofcom published its initial conclusions on 25th February 2016. This Telzed report looks
at the implications of some of the key conclusions. The new strategy will have some major impacts on the development
of investment and competition. This will affect the strategies of many businesses in the UK. The approach is
also be of interest to other countries. Since publication of the conclusions and the initial Telzed analysis, Ofcom
has released the final Business Connectivity Market Review, which seems to contradict some of the strategy as duct access is now not for general business-access.
See the approach for duct access, which seems to clearly support business use in the strategy, but it is not a remedy
in the BCMR. The reasons seem to be that duct access is to be only for "mass market" broadband fibre, and
not for big business. There are some obvious issues with the approach, such as definition of mass-market and where duct
can be legitimately used for smaller businesses that are part of the local "mass market" deployment.
December 2016 Ofcom suggested a further update to its planned approach that might further reduce some of the restrictions
on the use of duct. See: the Ofcom Wholesale Access Market Review. This post dates this Telzed analysis.
Click here to download pdf file on the Implications of Ofcom's conclusions
Broadband speed and Internet use
basic analysis of data has been used to show the relative position of a number of countries. This short paper raises
some thoughts about where a country should stand and how it is measured. This links to more significant questions
on how a country should move forward.
Click here to download pdf file on Broadband Speed and Internet
The UK Prime Minister announced a broadband Universal Service Obligation in November 2015
After the Ofcom Consultation on the future strategy closed (see
below), the PM announced a new USO. This announcement did not give details on how it would be applied.
In this Telzed discussion, the USO announcement is discussed. Although it raises many issues, the net impact may not
be as large as some might expect. This Telzed discussion paper is intended to provoke discussions - it is more
of a "blog" than other papers on this page. Since then, the government has announced a consultation on the USO, in March 2016.
Click here to download paper on on PM USO annoucement (pdf)
Telzed submission to Ofcom, October 2015 for
the Ofcom Strategic Review Consultation
Telzed has submitted a study into the UK markets and outcomes, with a focus on broadband and on attracting
investment. This confirms that the UK is comparable to many countries but is not setting a global lead, and the
broadband speed increases are only in line with almost all developed countries. Some outcomes could have been better.
As investment is now a key requirement, a new approach is proposed to make broadband investment more attractive. This
allows some protections and controls for the local monopoly provision that inevitably occurs in most of the country where
two or more NGA providers cannot exist (except in some mostly urban areas). USO options are examined and BT
structural separation is discussed. A key gap is the lack of a national policy on government funding and targets for
broadband. This gives the strategy review major problems as the government and EC have not set a direction or defined
the tools or limitations within which Ofcom has to work. This is a serious gap, but not one that is totally within Ofcom's
This paper is focussed on the Ofcom and UK needs, but there are lessons that can be adapted for other
Click here to download Ofcom strategy submission file (pdf)
Issues and Options for Bottom Up Cost Models
BU models are increasingly used to help with cost analysis. These have benefits but they can also cause
problems. A discussion of some of the issues has been included in the Telzed paper.
Click here to download BU model discussion file (pdf)
Click here to download pdf Telzed Comment on EC draft Recommendation
Click here to download pdf ITU paper
How to build a "Do It Yourself" cost model
document provides guidance for making a cost and profit model without using a proprietary ABC tool. A
non-proprietary model can meet many business needs and can deliver sophisticated solutions for commercial managers or
regulatory accounting. Issues identified in this paper can also help those planning to use a specialist ABC system.
If your telecoms business does not have any costing analysis system, then you probably need to consider this option,
even if you then choose a different approach. Please also look at the other costing papers on this web site. Telzed
can build this system for you.
Cick here to download pdf file on building a DIY system
The UK Ofcom Communications Market Report 2012
This document was issued in July 2012. This provides useful data that can also benefit decision makers
in other countries. There are important implications for strategists, investors, planner and regulators that
can be derived. Telzed has studied the deeper implications beyond the numbers themselves. This work is summarised in
the document below. Many of the points are highly relevant to other countries as similar trends and issues are being
faced or because the contrasts to the UK situation help to clarify the local problems.
Click here to download pdf file on the Ofcom report
Click to download pdf file on the Questionnaire
Click here to download pdf file on the Policy statement
of access fibre deployment (updated April 2013)
For many years access fibre services have been discussed,
and they are finally becoming a reality. The prices and costs have been examined and discussed in a number of papers.
Whilst fibre is desired and it is the best technology for high speed services, the business case is far from settled.
R Steele has flagged up the risks at some conferences and his discussions with telco experts shows that others
are also concerned about the possibility of some major financial problems for those that get the calculations wrong.
This paper discusses the issues and the very real possibility of telco failures. Investors should not forget that telcos
can make big mistakes - think back some 10 years. Updates from the 2012 version include issues that local/regional
broadband business ventures should consider.
Click here to download pdf file on access fibre risks
one page PowerPoint telco report on costs and profits
Reporting complex information is rarely easy.
This paper describes a one page diagram that provides a powerful view on the performance of a telecom business. Underlying
the slide, some sophisticated cost, volume and revenue processing may be required. Such processing systems can
be developed. The one page report provides a high level basis for decisions and planning actions.
Click to download pdf file on a one page report
An introduction to product and customer cost/profit
This paper provides an introductory overview of cost and profit modelling techniques
for telecommunications businesses. The different options are described and some of the key issues for building and using
the systems are discussed.
Click to download pdf file on costing systems