Brand Finance, the leading brand valuation and marketing experts have today 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.