7 First telecommunications legislation in Australia
8 Highlights of micro-economic reform Essentially taking government out of direct involvement in allocation of resources in favour of market allocation … productivity enhancing Reform of GBEs to focus effort on efficiency rather than other objectives Market driven allocation of spectrum; spectrum licensing; spectrum trading Quantifying and direct funding of cross-subsidy Routine cost-benefit analysis Introduction of competition Separation of regulation from production and investment: (Austel, ACCC) Pro-competitive safeguards: access regime, industry specific regulation Privatisation of GBEs: capital allocation within an efficient capital market rather than by government Each step contributed to a better matching of resources with likely demand
9 Undermining microeconomic reform... Having got out of direct decision-making on resource allocation, governments get back in through the back door, ie by regulation and direction Over-eager declaration of services (Calls for separation of declaration from management regulation of access) Regulatory direction over industry structure (Cost Benefit Analysis of any directed change in industry structure) NBN: renationalisation, regulated technology preference, rollout preference 1.Management of the access regime to achieve a preferred industry structure and/or distributive outcome … will it undermine mobile productivity? 2.Undermining of competitive neutrality: risk to the Internet of Things (IoT) 3.Extensive Ministerial direction over spectrum allocation … undermining the ability of the market to match resources with demand is what undermines productivity … regulatory changes post-investment = sovereign risk
10 Regulated access regime: shifted risk and return Risks have increased in telecommunications infrastructure investment Invest on one basis … only to see it over-turned post investment commitment ACCC has introduced new concepts post investment commitment, unrelated to economic efficiency Returns have increased across telco access seekers through redistribution rather than investment Several steps-down in access prices … aggregation among access entrepreneurs Access prices below cost across a broad average of users, disincentive to invest at scale Structural separation pursued as an claimed ‘reform’ without evaluation Has left risk with owner of infrastructure and distributed returns to access seekers Pure access seeker share price mid-2009 to mid-2014Wholesale only network provider share price since separation Source: IRESS Undermined market evaluation of network benefits and costs
11 Market valuation: access seeker v. network provider Access seeker Wholesale only network provider RevenueA$1.0bnNZ$1.1bnSimilar revenue EBITDAA$158mNZ$649m4 times more EBITDA EBITDA margin15%61% Network assetsA$60mNZ$3.1bn50 times more assets Intangible assetsA$612mNZ$166m Customers800k1,781kPhysical network connections Dividend26cps0cpsNo dividend in FY14 Return on Invested Capital 14%7.4%Half the ROUC Market cap, Monday 8 Sept A$1.4bnNZ$0.7m Enterprise valueA$1.7bnNZ$2.5bn EV/EBITDA FY159.3x4.5xHalf the market valuation multiple “Sources: CIMB, Company reports Would the ACCC do the same thing in mobile as it has done in fixed line?
12 The Internet of Things: likely largely wireless connected Source: Altera What spectrum and allocation approach for IoT? What impact will reservation of fixed backhaul to NBN Co have on IoT industry structure and development of services? Reserved backhaul is 35% of NBN Co’s LT revenue “We believe that the proliferation of mobile devices and the need to service those devices will be one of the key areas driving demand for the NBN.” NBN Co, Deloitte Access Economics Report, ‘Mobile Nation’, Feb 2013
13 Spectrum management and spectrum auctions ACMA has a positive reputation among investors for spectrum management Probably hard not to have a positive reputation given growth in MBB Good spectrum management is ‘below-the-radar’ for secondary market investors Spectrum auctions Closely followed in the equity market given impact on capex and market How many Ministerial directions are needed to sell a block of spectrum? ‘Red underpants’ requirements unsettle investors 700MHz spectrum price was effectively set by the Minister for Communications In effect excluded VHA; how can it be ‘efficient’ to have left so much spectrum unsold Can’t rectify post-auction without triggering sovereign risk 5G spectrum Will be more closely followed by the market because Demand > Supply – Where will it come from? Who will have to ‘surrender’ spectrum? What process to manage this? Process and arrangements should facilitate private sector to evaluate and meet emerging demand
14 What might have been? AWA and mobile telephony, 1949 Source: AWA Annual Report 1949 Mobile wireless
15 Source: AWA Annual Report 1949 What’s that you say, Chris? Productivity and innovation in the mobile sector? That requires flexible regulation to facilitate market-driven investment and competition, not over-ride it with regulatory preference. Roger that, over.