Ericsson unveils new cunning plan for IoT

In the hope that IoT is finally set to explode, Ericsson has created some new business units and products to make sure it’s ready.

Ericsson is dividing cellular IoT into four bits: Massive IoT, Broadband IoT, Critical IoT, and Industrial Automation IoT, but apparently only the broadband and industrial ones are new. The broadband bit supports higher data rates and lower latencies than the massive bit, while the industrial automation bit is pretty self-explanatory.

Your basic, vanilla version is still massive IoT, however, and Ericsson reminded us that it has extended the range of NB-IoT from 40 km to 100 kn just by tweaking the software. One clear use-case for the more powerful broadband flavour of IoT is drones and Ericsson talked up a bunch of innovations in that area too.

“Cellular IoT is moving from early adoption with Massive IoT to global rollout,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Networks at Ericsson. “We are now describing what’s next for our customers and how they can make the most out of their 4G and 5G investments on the same network and address more advanced IoT use cases across industries.”

Ericsson seems to think breaking IoT down into easier-to-swallow chunks might make it easier for service providers to match the technology to the customer. This new cunning plan is also designed to make the journey from basic IoT to the more advanced, bespoke flavours easier to get your head around. Let’s see.

Optus concedes Huawei ban means 5G launching without best tech

Optus has conceded Australia’s ban on Huawei technology has led to building its 5G network without the best available equipment.

"From a pure technology perspective, Huawei is probably ahead of the other three," said Optus CEO Allen Lew to The Sydney Morning Herald. "But what we've got from the other suppliers will enable us to provide a globally competitive service."

The operator adjusted its suppliers and Lew is confident the rollout of its future services will not be affected.

Speaking about the ban last Wednesday, Huawei Australia Chairman John Lord said:

"If you remove one of the key players out of a major bidding process, you weaken your competition.

You've removed the largest and leading player out of the competition, and I think that's to Australia's disadvantage.

We may not end up with one of the best 5G networks like other countries."

Optus launched an early version of its 5G home broadband service today. Limited to two suburbs in Canberra and a site in Sydney, it comes with a 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee and the promise of up to 1Gbps peak speeds in the future.

“This is a historic day for Optus as we begin our exciting 5G journey with the announcement of Optus’ 5G Home Broadband service,” commented Lew.

Optus plans to have 47 more sites online by March 2019. Rival operator Telstra announced earlier this month it had signed deals with certain smartphone manufacturers to launch 5G phones exclusively on its network in the first half of the year.

While it’s unable to use Huawei equipment, Optus is taking a multi-vendor approach to its 5G network. Nokia is supplying the 5G RAN and Fastmile 5G CPEs for Optus’ current 5G home broadband.

The security benefits of having multiple vendors in a network is one trumpeted by a Canadian intelligence official last year on the country’s decision not to ban Huawei from its 5G networks.

Scott Jones, Head of Ottawa’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, believes excluding telecoms equipment manufacturers will increase risks as – if a specific vendor’s equipment is compromised – it would represent a larger proportion of the network.

Countries around the world are still mulling bans of Chinese equipment over fears of state control and espionage.

Huawei maintains it can, and would, refuse any government request to conduct surveillance or attacks on another country. An official last month argued that being caught even once conducting malign activity would be terminal for its global business.

Earlier this week, the US filed 23 charges against Huawei and continues to petition its allies not to use Chinese 5G equipment.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam to learn more.

China 5G ambitions might hit a Brussels speed bump

The boresome bureaucrats of Brussels have finally gotten back from lunch and there might just be a 5G ban for Chinese companies on the menu before too long.

According to Reuters, the EU officials are considering drawing up new rules which would effectively ban any participation from Chinese companies in the up-coming 5G bonanza. Although there have certainly been some dissenting voices across the bloc over the last couple of months, a bloc-wide ban would be scaling up the anti-China rhetoric more than a few incremental steps.

Officials would almost certainly state any changes would be made for the greater good and are not targeted at a single nation, but that statement is increasingly difficult to swallow. There are a couple of different strategies to achieve the anti-China goal, but the Brussels brunch brigade will certainly have to get a move on if they are to make an impact.

5G is just around the corner and the groundwork is being laid for the lean, mean networks. Purchases will be made in the near future, but with this air of uncertainty flowing out of the Brussels waffle shops, some telcos might be hesitant to charge forward. What’s the point in potential purchasing and deploying equipment if the rosy-cheeks regulators are going to make you tear it out of the network?

The European Commission wants Europe to lead in the digital economy, but for this to happen the connectivity infrastructure needs to be up to scratch. The telcos need consistency and certainty when it comes to policies if they are to spend billions. The Flemish food fanatics are hardly known for their agility but for the European digital economy to remain on-track any significant changes to the regulatory landscape will have to be set in stone sharpish.

Now you start to get a feel for the problem. Who knows what conditions will be put into place with new policies, especially if the public service ponderers want the wording to appear generic enough so China cannot accuse the bloc of targeting it specifically. The gluttonous government officials will have to skip a few free lunches and get a move on.

But how could the covetous civil servants ban Huawei sorry China sorry nefarious bodies from contaminating the 5G goldmine?

The first suggestion is rumoured to be an amendment to a 2016 cybersecurity law to heighten the security requirements for any company which wants to contribute to critical infrastructure. Germany is reportedly making similar amendments to heighten requirements, but to protect itself and also allow Chinese companies to participate. You can only assume any altercations at a European level would not be as welcoming, targeting companies who could potentially be influenced (irrelevant of any concrete evidence) by a nefarious government.

A second suggestion would be more related to procurement processes, though the gaggle of red-tapers will have to be careful here. Whenever regulators and legislators attempt to influence commercial processes too much there is often resistance from the private sector.

The revelation will certainly be of interest to the US, which has done its best to turn the world against the country which is challenging the Land of the Free for global supremacy. While government intervention might sound like a bit of a contradiction for a country which so proudly promotes the concepts of market freedoms and capitalism, we have stopped keeping check on how mental the US is becoming.

But perhaps this was the long-game from the US all along. It bans Chinese companies sharpish and then moves onto plant the seeds of doubt elsewhere knowing other countries would take a more considered and evidence-based approach to such a massive decision. With the Europeans dithering, the US can race ahead with 5G deployment, attract the most innovative companies to establish R&D sites within its own border and all of a sudden it dominates the 5G economy just like it dominates 4G now.

Whatever the outcome, uncertainty is the enemy of progress. If they ban Chinese companies or if they don’t, the bureaucrats need to decide quickly. Regulations need to be set in stone to allow the telcos to consider all the implications and make commercial decisions. Uncertainty is only going to stutter rollouts and damage the influence of Europe on the digital economy.

And for Huawei, 2019 seems to be going from bad to worse.

Full-year global smartphone market declines for the first time

For five consecutive quarters the global smartphone market has registered year-on-year decline, marking the first time it has shrunk on annual basis since the first iPhone defined the category in 2007.

The size of the contraction is believed to be around 4-5%, according to some research firms. Among the leading smartphone makers, Huawei was the only one that has bucked the trend by increasing its sales volume and vastly improving its market share. By some estimate it is almost neck and neck with Apple.

“Huawei grew 35 percent and shipped a record 205.8 million smartphones globally in full-year 2018,” said Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics. “Huawei is now just a whisker behind Apple, who shipped 206.3 million iPhones last year. Huawei is massively outgrowing the iPhone and we expect Huawei to overtake Apple on a full-year basis worldwide for the first time in 2019.”

In general, the leading Chinese brands, including OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi (in addition to Huawei) have been aggressively expanding overseas to compensate the weak domestic market. According to the estimates by Counterpoint Research, 46% of the Chinese brands’ total volume was shipped outside of China, up from 33% a year ago. “The collective smartphone shipment growth of emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and others was not enough to offset the decline in China, which was responsible for almost 1/3 of global smartphone shipments in 2018. With China showing little or no sign of recovery due to various politico-economic factors, Chinese brands are looking to expand overseas,” said Shobhit Srivastava, an analyst from Counterpoint. “To increase market share, Chinese brands have been aggressive in both hardware/software design and marketing.”

Despite being badly hit in the smartphone market in 2018 (and foreseeing continued difficulties in 2019), Samsung was still able to hold on to the overall market leader position. “Samsung shipped 69.3 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2018, dipping 7 percent annually from 74.4 million units in Q4 2017. Samsung remains the world’s number one smartphone vendor, despite intense competition from Apple, Huawei and others across core markets of India, Europe and the US,” commented Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics.

Calculating Q4 was made further complicated as this was the first quarter that Apple would not publish the iPhone shipment volume (though it continues to publish iPhone revenues). We sampled three research firms’ published numbers on the market size and vendor share, each of them making their judgement call on Apple as well as other firms that do not publish their shipments.

Both Counterpoint Research and Strategy Analytics believed Apple sold 66 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2018, presumably by applying the announced year-on-year 15% decline of iPhone revenues directly on the volume. This is a crude methodology, as it would assume the average selling price (ASP) of the iPhones has remained constant from a year ago. The new models released in 2018 were sold at much higher price points than their predecessors from 2017. To couple this with Apple’s decision to discontinue some older, cheaper models, the iPhone ASP should only go up, which means its volume decline should be bigger than 15%, though by how much is anyone’s guess.

On the other hand, Canalys estimated that 71.7 million iPhones were sold in Q4, or a 7% decline from Q4 2017. As a matter of fact, the firm, based on this estimate, declared that Apple overtook Samsung to be the market leader in Q4. This calculation implies Apple must have vastly discounted the iPhones to drive up volume. This is not entirely impossible, but it has not been reported broadly.

Smartphone 2018

Nokia reports a solid Q4 but warns Q1 19 might suck

Telecoms vendor Nokia reported 3% revenue growth in Q4 2018 but it’s not too optimistic about the 5G rollout ramping up anytime soon.

Nokia matched that revenue growth with a 3% increase in net profit too, and the solid quarter helped it to grow revenues by 1% for the full year after adjusting for adjustments. As ever the networks business was the driver, with its 6% revenue growth offsetting declines in the other reporting segments. On that note Nokia is going to start reporting its software business separately from next quarter.

On the negative side Nokia doesn’t sound too bullish about the state of the market this year. “Based on the evolving readiness of the 5G ecosystem and the staggered nature of 5G rollouts in lead countries, we expect full year 2019 to follow a similar pattern as full year 2018: a soft first half followed by a robust second half, with a particularly weak Q1,” said Nokia in its outlook.

“Nokia ended the year with a strong fourth quarter,” said CEO Rajeev Suri. “We saw the second consecutive quarter of year-on-year sales growth across all five of our Networks business groups, as well as improved profitability in both Networks and Nokia Technologies. The execution of our strategy also proceeded well, with the work we have put into building a solid foundation for Nokia Software showing clear results and our enterprise business rapidly becoming a pillar of growth.”

One of the reasons for the 5G not ramping as expected this year may be some interoperability problems that Light Reading has been sniffing around. The whole standard is still very much a work in progress with Release 16, which covers a lot of technologies and use-cases over and above enhanced mobile broadband, not expected until the end of this year.

So apart from the usual US suspects not being able to resist jumping the gun in their desperation for quick marketing wins, there is little incentive for operators to go big on 5G in the short term. We expect a lot of the MWC talk from vendors such as Nokia to focus on getting ahead of the game, 5G readiness, etc, but it looks like the industry is opting to keep its powder dry for now.

Here are some Nokia slides, which clearly illustrate the pattern of a slow start building up to a strong Q4 that the company expects to repeat itself this year. Nokia’s shares were down a couple of percent at time of writing.

Nokia Q4 18 slide 1

Nokia Q4 18 slide 2

Nokia Q4 18 slide 3

 

Nokia Q4 18 slide 4

Nokia Q4 18 slide 5

Nokia Q4 18 slide 6

Nokia Q4 18 slide 7

Q4 2018 earnings roundup: Facebook, Qualcomm and Microsoft

It’s that time of the quarter when all the earnings announcements come at once, so here’s a brief look at three US tech heavy-hitters.

Facebook is never too far from the headlines, but this is attention investors won’t be too disappointed in receiving. Facebook’s quarterly figures suggest that while the world might disagree with its ethics, morals and basic decency, we just can’t stop telling people about the snow or posting pictures of a deconstructed Shoreditch coffee.

Over the last three months, total revenues stood at $16.9 billion, a 30% year-on-year jump, while net income jumped 61% to $6.8 billion. We might not trust Facebook, but we can’t stop using it.

Daily Active Users were 1.52 billion on average for December 2018, an increase of 9% year-over-year, while Monthly Active Users were 2.32 billion as of December 31, another 9% increase. Facebook estimates 2.7 billion people now use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger, while 2 billion use at least one of the services once a day.

“Going into 2019, we’re focused on four priorities: first, continue making progress on the major social issues facing the Internet and our company; second, build new experiences that meaningfully improve people’s lives today and set the stage for even bigger improvements in the future; third, keep building our business by supporting the millions of businesses, mostly small businesses, that rely on our services to grow and create jobs; then fourth, communicate more transparently about what we’re doing and the role our services play in the world. And I want to take a minute talk about each of these,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the earnings call.

Qualcomm is another company which is never too far away from the headlines, but for quite different reasons.

The last quarter proved to be another which saw the legal battle with Apple take another incremental step forward, but this does not seem to have weighed too heavily on the business. Over the last three months, the chipmaker beat market expectations and signed a new interim patent contract with Huawei Technologies.

The deal with Huawei is perhaps an important one as it lessons the strain placed on the over-worked Qualcomm legal team. Under the new deal, Huawei will pay $150 million per quarter for three quarters, providing a bit of breathing room as the pair look to rectify a licensing dispute. Qualcomm believes this is less than it is owed but indicated this is progress.

In terms of the figures, the last quarter brought in $4.8 billion, a decline of 20% year-on-year, though net income stood at $1.1 billion. Forecasts for the next quarter see the company offering a range of $4.4 billion and $5.2 billion, meeting analysts’ estimate of $4.80 billion, with the market reacting positively to the news. Revenues might be down, but there is a lot of potential on the horizon.

Finally, onto Microsoft, the only one of this trio which seems to have a positive reputation across the wold.

Satya Nadella might not be the most rock n’ roll CEO on the technology scene right now, but you certainly can’t argue with the results he delivers. Microsoft had another positive three-month period, with the Intelligent Cloud business claiming the plaudits.

“Our strong commercial cloud results reflect our deep and growing partnerships with leading companies in every industry including retail, financial services, and healthcare,” said Nadella. “We are delivering differentiated value across the cloud and edge as we work to earn customer trust every day.”

Total revenues increased 12% to $32.5 billion, while the boost to operating income was 18% as the bean counters revelled in $10.3 billion. Looking at the individual business units, revenues in Productivity and Business Processes was $10.1 billion, up 13% year-on-year, Intelligent Cloud jumped 20% to $9.4 billion and More Personal Computing was up 7% to $13 billion.

You might not want to go clubbing with Nadella, but if he carries on this trajectory he’ll never have to buy a drink again.

BT’s bids farewell to Gav on positive note

BT might have reported a slight fall in earnings, but beating market expectations will have helped departing CEO Gavin Patterson repair his reputation a bit.

Gavin Patterson’s reign as chief of BT has been somewhat of a chequered tapestry. A bold and suspect venture into the competitive world of content was interspersed with scandals and bad news, though as he hands the keys over to new CEO Philip Jansen, the company is looking in a slightly better position. Whether the former monopoly can re-capture the fortunes of old remains to be seen, but at least the raw materials are there.

“We have continued to deliver consistently against our strategic objectives in a tough market, resulting in another sound quarter of operational and financial performance,” said Patterson.

Total revenues for the nine months to December 31 stood at £17.5 billion, a 1% decline year-on-year, while profit was up 20% to $2 billion. The final quarter saw profits of $1.88 billion, £60 million above the consensus estimate compiled by BT. Revenues for the final quarter also exceeded expectations at £5.98 million, although this was a year-on-year decline. The situation could be better, but in beating expectations Patterson is signing off on a positive.

“Early signs of Patterson’s restructuring strategy is bearing fruits,” said independent telco and tech analyst Paolo Pescatore. “The incoming CEO will still need to make some tough decisions. First and foremost, whether the current strategy should be tweaked.”

Over the last couple of months BT has had to make some tough and unpleasant calls, the biggest of which was a re-structuring process which would cut 13,000 jobs. While it is never pleasant to talk about redundancies, it is a harsh reality in the telco world which needs to be tackled head on. Many of the telcos are companies which are not built to tackle the demands of the digital economy; with new pastures to be farmed, new skills are needed and that often means new people.

This will come as little comfort to some, but BT appears to be a business which is ready to move back into prominence. It just has to make use of the promising position it has created (or inherited) and translate potential into cash.

When you actually look at the assets which it has at its disposal, you have to wonder how BT managed to get itself into such a precarious position. An MNO which sits in second in the market share rankings, but it regularly named as the best performing network. 5G is also on the horizon and BT is leading the race in the UK to hit the market first. It owns the national broadband infrastructure which fuels many subscriptions around the UK. The content offering, which has admittedly been managed badly, is prominent on the landscape. Wifi is transforming into a key pillar. Not to mention the enterprise business unit, and Global Services which people would rather not talk about.

The ingredients are there, but shareholders will now be hoping Jansen is a better chef than Patterson turned out to be.

“I am handing over the business with good momentum behind its ongoing transformation programme and wish my colleagues all the best for the future,” said Patterson.

The big question is how BT moves forward with this momentum, and the consumer business will be all important.

As the only unit which has registered growth over the first nine months, enterprise took a hit on landline calls while Openreach suffered at the hands of regulatory change, a lot of hope will be pinned onto Consumer CEO Marc Allera and his disciples. With the assets mentioned above, BT certainly does have the potential to offer a considerable convergence play, based on the foundations of connectivity not bells and whistles.

Over the course of 2018, BT’s CTIO Howard Watson was sent on a roadshow to give various conference audiences the same presentation. The message was relatively simple; consumers want the best connectivity experience, and BT is going to deliver it. Content might be an add-on for value, but the core mission for BT will now be enabling all the wonderful promises of the digital economy.

“For the consumer, it’s not about their wifi, or their mobile connection, or their fixed broadband, or even their landline,” Watson said at Broadband World Forum in October. “It’s about connectivity as a whole.”
Stepping away from the shiny distractions, such as Premier League football, which were arguably the cornerstone of Patterson’s demise is critical. Around the world, the most successful telcos are the ones which concentrated on delivering an incredibly positive connectivity experience and then moved onto the bells and whistles. Orange has done this very effectively across Europe, while T-Mobile US is still focusing on the basics despite everyone wondering when it will launch a TV challenger service. This is where Jansen could play an influential role.

Despite being linked with the BT job in years gone, Jansen was not a prominent feature in the prediction articles to replace Patterson. But, he does have experience which might prove very useful.

Prior to BT, Jansen was CEO of Worldpay since 2013 and oversaw a $10.4 billion merger with rival e-commerce platform Vantiv. This was a big and complicated deal, which has arguably allowed Worldpay to flourish since completion. Perhaps this is what BT genuinely needs, as we are seemingly still waiting for the benefits of the EE acquisition to hit home. BT doesn’t want a flashy marketer in charge right now, but someone who will connect the boring dots and make two monster businesses integrate.

Rivals will be casting a cautious eye over at BT following these results. Patterson is leaving on a positive and fresh leadership could provide the impetus to dominate the UK. The raw materials are there for Jansen to prove he can be an empire-builder.

AT&T just misplaced 267k DirecTV Now subs, but it’s OK

The AT&T earnings call was somewhat of a mixed bag of results, with gains on mobile but it somewhat irresponsibly managed to misplace 267,000 DirecTV Now subscribers; its ok says CEO.

Digging down into the numbers always tends to lead to many twists and turns, but the big one is DirecTV Now, the telcos attempt to blend into differentiation and get ahead of the cord cutting generation. This has not exactly been a rip-roaring success for the business so far but losing 267,000 subscribers in three months is a headline which will take some beating.

So where did they go? According to the business, they were basically just allowed to leave. With $10 a month promotional subscriptions biting down hard on profitability, the powers-that-be seemingly decided to cut the losses. The company scaled back promotions and the number of customers on entry-level plans declined significantly, however on a more positive note, the number of premium subscriptions remained stable.

Unfortunately for AT&T, stable will not cut the grade anymore. Having made the questionable decision to acquire DirecTV for $67 billion in mid-2015, some would have hoped the outcome would be more than ‘stable’ three years later. With another whopper of an acquisition taking place during this three-year period, AT&T will be hoping to scale up success before too long if it is to reduce the debt weighing down the spreadsheets.

“Our top priority for 2018 and 2019 is reducing our debt and I couldn’t be more pleased with how we closed the year,” said CEO Randall Stephenson. “In 2018, we generated record free cash flow while investing at near-record levels.”

The other acquisition, WarnerMedia, seems to be having a better time of it than DirecTV. Total WarnerMedia revenues were $9.2 billion, up 5.9% year over year, primarily driven by higher Warner Bros revenues, consolidation of Otter Media and higher affiliate subscription revenues at Turner. What remains to be seen is whether this can continue. WarnerMedia is a media company which is awaiting the full integration and transformation wonders from AT&T. What impact this risk-adverse, lethargic and traditional business will have on the media giant is unknown in the long-run.

Elsewhere in the business, things were a little more positive. The team added 134,000 valuable post-paid subscriptions in the wireless business, though this remained below expectations, with the total now up to 153 million. Total revenues were up15.2% to $47.99 billion though this was also below analysts’ estimates of $48.5 billion. A bit more positive, than DirecTV’s car crash, but still not good enough according to Wall Street as share price declined 4.5%.

Cybersecurity firm exposes Iranian group attacking telcos

Cybersecurity firm FireEye claims to have identified an Iranian hacking group which is attacking telcos around the world.

FireEye exposed the group called ‘APT39’ last month. APT39’s main goal appears to be stealing personal information.

According to FireEye, this goal makes APT39 somewhat unique. Other Iranian hacking groups tracked by the cybersecurity firm are linked to influence operations, disruptive attacks, and other threats.

In a blog post, FireEye wrote:

“APT39 likely focuses on personal information to support monitoring, tracking, or surveillance operations that serve Iran’s national priorities, or potentially to create additional accesses and vectors to facilitate future campaigns.”

APT39 primarily uses the backdoors known as ‘CACHEMONEY’ and ‘SEAWEED’ in addition to a variant of the ‘POWBAT’ backdoor.

The group focuses on targets in the Middle East but has been linked to countries elsewhere in the world. Perhaps to be expected, the US is among its targets.

FireEye has produced the following map showing countries APT39 is linked with:

fireeye

Considering APT39’s goal of collecting personal data and espionage, it’s of little surprise telcos are its main target. Others sectors targeted include the ‘high-tech’ and travel industries.

FireEye has ‘moderate confidence’ APT39 is working to advance Iranian state interests.

In a sheer coincidence, US intelligence officials unveiled their latest ‘Worldwide Threat Assessment’ today. The report states Iran continues to "present a cyber espionage and attack threat" to the US and its allies.

"Iran uses increasingly sophisticated cyber techniques to conduct espionage; it is also attempting to deploy cyberattack capabilities that would enable attacks against critical infrastructure in the United States and allied countries," the report warns.

Tensions between Iran and the US are strained over President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions. Given the breakdown in relations, it’s unlikely the cyber threat from Iran will cease anytime soon.

Last week, Iran-linked hackers took advantage of the US government’s record-long shutdown to launch a cyberattack.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam to learn more.

Vodafone’s UK fixed line efforts off to a shaky start

Ofcom has started including Vodafone’s broadband and landline services among its complaints data and they top both categories.

The good news for Vodafone is that, while its nascent fixed line efforts are the most complained about (to Ofcom, at least) the lead isn’t that great. TalkTalk isn’t far behind in each case and there isn’t much of a gap to the chasing pack. Ofcom didn’t have anything to say about Vodafone specifically, contenting itself with the standard, generic fare.

“With so much competition in telecoms and TV services, companies that are falling short need to make service quality and complaints handling their priority,” said Jane Rumble, Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Policy. “Customers who aren’t happy with their provider can shop around and vote with their feet.”

Ernest Doku of uSwitch.com had a bit more to say. “Vodafone will especially be feeling the heat here as, for the first time, the provider has topped the table for receiving the highest number of complaints for its broadband and landline services,” he said. “However, this is the first time the provider has had enough customers – proportionally – to justify its inclusion in these figures.”

It’s not too surprising that a relatively new set of services should have some teething problems and therefore an elevated level of complaints, so we shouldn’t read too much into Vodafone’s performance for now. But if that level remains high for the next few quarters then that could indicate some more profound issues with Vodafone’s UK diversification.

Here are the tables.

Broadband

Ofcom Q3 2018 complaints broadband

Landline

Ofcom Q3 2018 complaints landline

Mobile

Ofcom Q3 2018 complaints mobile

Pay TV

Ofcom Q3 2018 complaints TV