Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Strategy Analytics: North American Cellular EBITDA Surges 30 Percent In Q4 2005

You know it's event season when there are tons of announcements about new mobile devices, content, services and...research. Seems like research firms come out of the woodwork to feed the information overload with myriad data points.

Strategy Analytics has a new report that finds "EBITDA margins among North American cellular carriers jumped 4 percentage points in Q4 2005 to reach 32 percent, their highest Q4 level this decade." According to Strategy Analytics, "US carriers, in particular, are in excellent form, with margins jumping 7 percentage points at Verizon Wireless and 15 points at T-Mobile."

The report stated that "despite the cost of supporting gross additions, which were also at a decade-high, the North American wireless industry delivered a solid financial performance in Q4 2005. Average revenues per user (ARPUs) continued their recent declines in the quarter, although operational expenditure (OPEX) tracked below this, fuelling Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) increases near the 30 percent level."

David Kerr at Strategy Analytics said, "Verizon Wireless continues to stand out in the US market. Its customers do not generate spectacular ARPUs among the tier one carriers, but Verizon spends the least on acquiring and serving these customers by far. As a result, its market-leading average monthly EBITDA margins topped the $23 mark for the first time this decade."

Phil Kendall at Strategy Analytics added, "We are seeing carriers break new ground in emerging markets, where the cost of serving customers continues to fall. While OPEX per user averages $40 per month in North America, it is already below the $5 level for carriers in China, Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines, Russia, and the Ukraine."