BMI View: Finland's mature mobile market offers few opportunities for organic growth. Subscriber addition rates in 2012 proved mediocre at best. Operators are justifiably reluctant to compete too heavily on pricing given their dependence on postpaid services; cutting prices would have a deleterious effect on ARPUs at a time when they are investing in new mobile broadband infrastructure and spectrum. We believe non-voice ARPUs are growing, but this is difficult to verify, given a general reluctance to add granularity to reported results. In any case, continued growth in messaging traffic suggests that such low-value services still account for a large proportion of income from non-voice services.
- Finnish telecommunications company Elisa claimed that at least 87% of all new handsets sold in Q412 were smartphones. With this in mind, it is not surprising to find that wireless data subscriber numbers hit 5.755mn at the end of 2012, according to new data from the regulator, FICORA.
- The decline in fixed-line subscriptions accelerated as total subscriptions reached 890,000 at the end of 2012. Subscriptions declined 17.6% y-o-y.
Key Trends & Developments
There has been no further news regarding the planned auction of 800MHz spectrum, scheduled for Q113. With the penetration rate of dedicated mobile broadband subscriptions among the highest in the world, and the economies of scale presented by 800MHz with regards to cost-effective coverage of dispersed populations, we expect interest in the frequencies to be high, but limited to the existing players only. As such, we do not expect to see operators table large financial bids for the spectrum.