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Operator group ranking, Q2 2014

Chinese carriers dominate global operator ranking as M&A deals shake up US market



All three Chinese mobile operators feature in the top ten in GSMA Intelligence’s latest ranking of mobile operator groups, underlying China’s status as the world’s largest mobile market.

The study ranks global operators using a model based on reported mobile connections and mobile revenue (see methodology below). China Mobile was comfortably the largest group by both measures, reaching 790.6 million mobile connections and recording annualised revenue of £66.4 billion for the period to Q2 2014. China Mobile’s two domestic rivals, China Unicom and China Telecom, are ranked third and tenth, respectively.

The remaining positions in the top ten were filled predominantly by operator groups with substantial global footprints across multiple markets, including Vodafone, Telefónica, América Móvil, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and VimpelCom.

The ranking of the US operator groups has been impacted by large-scale M&A activity over the last 12 months. The largest deal during the period saw Japan’s SoftBank acquire Sprint Nextel for $21.6 billion, a deal that closed in July 2013. The enlarged SoftBank Group stands at number 12 in our ranking, however it is fourth in terms of revenue. This reflects the advanced nature of the US and Japanese markets where SoftBank is present. SoftBank has subsequently been linked with a move to acquire Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile US, though that deal was reportedly abandoned in recent weeks over concerns it would be blocked by regulators.

SoftBank’s US rival Verizon Wireless was ranked second in terms of revenue but only 13th overall. This means that AT&T is the only US operator in the top ten, at number eight.

Other recent M&A deals that have impacted positions in the ranking include Etisalat’s completion of a $5.7 billion deal to acquire a majority share in Morocco’s largest mobile operator Maroc Telecom (from Vivendi Group) in May 2014; and Oi Group completing the acquisition of the operational assets of Portugal Telecom Group in May 2014 as part the ongoing merger between the pair.

Notes on methodology

Subsidiaries are included within a parent group as per reported consolidation. Minority holdings (less than 50 percent plus one share) are included where a group does so within its audited financial statements.

Data for connections is shown as the period-ending value, excluding customers from any subsidiaries that have been divested over the course of the year. Revenue data is annualised, such that revenue attributed to any qualifying subsidiary is included on a quarterly basis over the four quarters provided the subsidiary meets the rules for consolidation in the respective quarter.

The ranking gives equal weighting to period-ending connections and annualised mobile revenue in determining final positions. The ranking by connections and revenue is combined to give an overall ‘score’, with a lower combined score ranking higher. For example, Vodafone is ranked second by connections and fifth by revenue, giving it a combined score of 7 (2+5). This ranks the group second behind China Mobile, which scores 2 (1+1), as it the largest group by both connections and revenue. Where scores are tied, the rank by connections is used as the deciding factor.

   
Connections
(million) 1


Rank
12-month mobile revenue
(£ billion)


Rank
1 China Mobile, China 790.6 1 £66.4 1
2 Vodafone Group 3 435.9 2 £42.1 5
3 China Unicom, China 295.0 3 £21.5 10
4 Telefónica Group 249.4 6 £30.2 7
5 América Móvil Group 3 266.9 5 £25.5 9
6 Deutsche Telekom Group 3 146.9 12 £30.8 6
7 Orange Group 184.6 8 £16.1 11
8 AT&T, United States 116.6 16 £44.8 3
9 VimpelCom Group 218.2 7 £11.4 14
10 China Telecom, China 180.2 9 £16.0 12
11 Bharti Airtel Group 287.2 4 £7.9 18
12 SoftBank Group 105.0 20 £43.0 4
13 Verizon Wireless, United States 104.6 22 £52.4 2
14 Telenor Group 175.6 10 £8.7 17
15 MTN Group 3 169.7 11 £8.9 16
16 Etisalat Group 2, 3 119.7 15 £7.1 21
17 Telecom Italia Group 104.8 21 £10.6 15
18 Sistema Group 3 113.9 18 £7.6 19
19 NTT DOCOMO Group 63.6 31 £26.6 8
20 Hutchison Whampoa Group 72.7 26 £6.7 23
21 Ooredoo Group 93.2 23 £5.0 30
22 TeliaSonera Group 3 64.2 30 £6.4 24
23 au (KDDI), Japan 41.0 41 £12.3 13
24 Telkomsel, Indonesia 137.4 14 £3.3 41
25 Axiata Group 3 115.7 17 £3.6 38
26 MegaFon Group 70.2 28 £5.5 28
27 Idea Cellular, India 139.0 13 £2.8 47
28 Oi Group 2, 3 62.4 33 £5.2 29
29 KPN Group 3 38.7 43 £6.9 22
30 SK Telecom, South Korea 3 28.0 46 £7.6 20

Operator-group ranking, consolidated ownership, Q2 2014
Source: GSMA Intelligence

1 Connections and revenue are aggregated as the sum of each group's consolidated subsidiaries
2 Estimated connections
3 Includes minor contribution from fixed-line services



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