Notes from the Q3 battlefront
As usual, the two Swedes started off the quarter's reporting, making life miserable for anyone covering the Nordic markets. TeliaSonera's numbers (no, this is not an ad for Benetton) blew the top out of consensus expectations, and once more demonstrated that the CIS mobile markets are on fire (TeliaSonera's Kazakhstan subscribers grew 27% sequentially, and Tele2's Russian regional cellcos grew by more than 25% sequentially). Back home, however, not all is well. Sequential line loss for TeliaSonera's PSTN business on an annualized basis (in other words, if we take the loss for the quarter compared to the previous quarter, and assume it continues for a year), was 16.2%, an improvement over the previous two quarters, but that's still a huge number. Perhaps more interesting was the fact that Tele2's wholesale line rental customer base is now 480k, equivalent to 9% of TeliaSonera's line base - after only a little more than three quarters of marketing. Euphemism of the day - page 7 of the TeliaSonera slide pack - "1,325 of about 3,000 employees in transition."