Brand Finance, the leading brand valuation and marketing experts released their annual Telecoms 500 study. The report, which lists the World’s most valuable telecoms brands, shows that several network operators have faced a very challenging year.
European providers in particular have suffered significant losses. Telefonica has taken a double hit; its Movistar brand’s value has been cut by $3.3bn, making it this year’s biggest faller, while O2 has also lost brand value, though a more modest $85m. Orange has fallen from 5th to 7th in the table following a 12% brand value fall of $2.2bn. Global mobile phone sales fell 3% in 2012 with consumers in struggling Eurozone economies with high unemployment rates, cutting back. Most dramatically Vodafone, which has ranked number 1 in the BrandFinance® Telecoms 500 since its inception in 2010, has fallen to 4th. Over US$3bn of lost brand value means its brand is now worth just over US$27bn while its brand strength has been downgraded from a near-perfect AAA+ to AAA.
Verizon, in which Vodafone owns a 45% stake, was once a minor player but has now leapfrogged the UK giant to become the world’s most valuable operator and second most valuable telecoms brand. Its brand value of US$30.7bn illustrates the impressive growth of Verizon Wireless in particular, now the America’s 2nd biggest mobile operator. Vodafone’s share price has risen sharply in recent days following rumours that Verizon are keen to take full control of Wireless and are willing to pay over the odds to do so. Managing the sale carefully could prove crucial to Vodafone’s future as the windfall could help it cover outstanding tax liabilities and more importantly invest in developing a ‘quad-play’ offering to counter the challenge from integrated rivals such as BT and Virgin Media.
The most striking change of all however is illustrated by 2013’s most valuable Telecoms brand. The handsets segment of the Apple brand* has surged to the top of the table following brand value growth of US$21bn. As smartphone uptake continues and smaller rivals such as HTC, Blackberry and Nokia struggle, Apple has gained market share and grown its brand value by 77% in the face of its volatile share price. Samsung too has had a successful year. The segment of its brand* derived from handsets has more than doubled this year, growing 121% to US$23.7bn, making it this year’s fastest riser.
Commenting on the results, Brand Finance Chief Executive David Haigh said: “The rise of Apple and Samsung represents a shift in the power balance between mobile operators and handset manufactures. For operators, voice and even data are no longer enough, with threats from all sides they must act quickly to embrace quadruple-play or face falling sales and eroding margins.”
For the full results of the BrandFinance® Telecoms 500 please click here and for further insight and analysis please read the latest edition of Total Telecom.
*The brand values for Apple and Samsung in the BrandFinance® Telecoms 500 include only the contribution from handsets. The total brand values for Apple and Samsung, as reported in the BrandFinance® Global 500 are US$87.3bn and US$57.8bn respectively.