Although Spain's mobile market continues to decline, we believe there is still scope for recovery for operators as 4G services have launched and smartphone ownership remains important. There has been no indication so far that this has improved ARPUs, but BMI believes this will be a longer term development. Economic pressures continue to affect market opportunities, but there is little indication that subscribers are willing to abandon their mobile and broadband services, but are more cautious about spending on these. Improved economic outlook will help create more opportunities for Spanish workers, in turn creating more opportunity and desire for spending. We maintain estimates of falling subscriber figures for the mobile market in 2013, but believe 2014 will see some recovery.
- The mobile market contracted by 5.9% year on year (y-o-y) in Q413, reaching 49.632mn. Market leader Movistar and second-ranked Vodafone are the main culprits
- The disconnection of active subscribers had helped maintain APRU rates but these continue to decline as we have forecast because of consumers' heightened price sensitivity of consumers and the implementation of mobile termination rate cuts.
- Dedicated mobile broadband subscriptions have not recovered according to the latest data available from the CMT.
Key Trends And Developments
ONO reported that its mobile subscriber base has surpassed the 1mn mark. ONO launched as an MVNO in September 2009 over Telefónica's infrastructure. The operator claims to have added more than 600,000 new mobile voice subscribers since December 2012.
Vodafone began conducting LTE-Advance (LTE-A) technology tests using spectrum in the 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands in Madrid. The tests are being carried out in laboratory settings and in the AZCA, and the Nuevos Ministerios areas of the city. Vodafone reportedly achieved downlink speeds of up to 297Mbps. The operator aims to commercially introduce LTE-A services in Madrid and Barcelona.
Jazztel announced plans to invest EUR180mn by 2014 to accelerate its FTTH deployment in Catalonia. The operator plans to deploy its fibre network in 14 Catalan cities by end-2014, starting with Badalona in Barcelona. The other cities to get the FTTH network include L'Hospitalet, Cerdanyola, Esplugues de Llobregat, Ruby, Sant Feliu, Cornella, Granollers, Martorell, Sant Adria de Besos and Mollet del Valles.