In 2020, telecommunications operators recorded revenues of 28.5 billion, the lowest value in the last 10 years and down by 1.5 billion compared to 2019. This is what emerges from the Report on the Telecommunications Industry in Italy, presented by Asstel -Assotelecomunicazioni together with the trade union organizations Slc-Cgil, Fistel-Cisl and Uilcom-Uil. A fact, the study underlines, can be attributed to a “hyper-competitive context” which “led to a further drop in prices”. This despite the fact that 2020 was a record year for data traffic volumes: + 50% for both fixed and mobile. From 2010 to 2020, the report highlights, overall revenues fell by 32%, radio-mobile by 40%, fixed communications by 23%. This decline is also greater than that of the other main European countries. However, investments continue in the construction of ultra-broadband, radio and fiber networks. In 2020, 7.4 billion in investments (over 100 million in charges for frequencies) reached a record incidence of 26% on the total turnover of operators.
The report shows, however, that the investment that telecommunications operators made in Italy in 2020 is equal to 26% of total revenues. Compared to other companies that provide services, the Telco sector is confirmed as the one with the largest investments, albeit with revenues and prices that have been falling for years.
The economic difficulties of the sector, explains the report, “are well represented by the dynamics of the cash balance available for Tlc operators (EBITDA – CAPEX): in 2010 this was worth € 10.5 billion available to service the financial debt, for the payment of taxes and for the remuneration of shareholders; in 2020 it went to a value of 2.5 billion euros, the lowest value ever “. “A sign – the study continues – that the margins of the sector are absorbed by the cash flows necessary to support investments”. “Telecommunications constitute a strategic sector for the country system. We must maintain a clear strategic vision with respect to the transformation to be achieved”, declares the president of Asstel, Massimo Sarmi. “No less important aspect – he continues – is the attention to building a resilient digitization model capable of reacting to changes in the context as regards services, infrastructures, rules and skills”.
Tlc: Orlando, yes to a discussion table on the sector
“When asked to open a discussion table on the sector, I answer yes, as regards the competences of my ministry. First of all to think about how the” bilateral sectoral Fund “can be started, but also on the issue concerning training” . Thus the Minister of Labor and Social Policies, Andrea Orlando, speaking at the presentation of the Report on the Telecommunications Sector in Italy. “There is a problem – explains the minister – that concerns how to intervene, in a homogeneous way, in a sector like this, in the face of important resources. Between NRPs and our own resources we have mobilized something like 5 billion euros and, on training , 800 million have already been allocated “.
Solari (CGIL), plan for non-postponable network infrastructure
“These years of health crisis have in fact imposed on us all a new right, that of connectivity. A ‘country plan’ for network infrastructure can no longer be postponed”. Thus the secretary general Slc-Cgil, Fabrizio Solari, commenting on the data of the Report on the Telecommunications Industry in Italy.
Tlc: Colao, it’s not the ministers who set the prices
Competition from the mobile market has led to a dramatic drop in offer prices. “But the prices are not made by politicians or regulators. If there is a very strong decline, traders have to look each other in the eye.” Thus the minister for technological innovation and digital transition, Vittorio Colao, speaking at the National Tlc Forum. “As a customer or citizen – he explained – I can be happy but if the same drop is judged excessive compared to the dynamics of the industry, it does not depend on politics”. The government, from Colao’s point of view, has moved with the simplification decree and says it is ready to listen to the other subjects in the Supply Chain. “If there are any suggestions, they are welcome,” he added. The minister then recalled the issue of the electromagnetic limits of 5G, which a large part of the Supply Chain is asking to raise, bringing them to the levels of the European average: “We are aware of the work that will need to be done but there will be other moments to talk about it”.
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