Liberty Global, through its UPC Switzerland division, scrapped its initially-planned Swiss exit and instead formalised a joint venture talk with Sunrise Communications group in March 2018. The early-stage discussion was in line with the group’s plan of strengthening its Swiss subsidiary through adopting a similar venture established in the Netherlands just a year ago. If the said venture would materialise, InfoCom expects UPC to have around 25% (from 19%) and 34% (from 29%) market hold in the Swiss’ fixed broadband and TV markets, respectively - creating the second largest player in the market based on subscribers. By then, we see Liberty Global moving up a notch within InfoCom's quarterly broadband ranking in terms of proportionate subscribers from its current eight spot as of end-4Q17. As per InfoCom’s top-10 broadband monitoring service, Liberty Global slid to the ninth spot based on proportionate broadband subscribers after the VodafoneZiggo venture.
In February 2018, Liberty Global was also reported to have an early-stage discussion with Vodafone group regarding a potential acquisition of the former’s certain European assets for EUR 14bn. This amount will be enough for Liberty Global to actualise the Swiss venture and strengthen further its Central and European foothold if the two parties would push through with the deal. By then, Vodafone Group is expected to move up further in the quarterly broadband group ranking – noting that the VodafoneZiggo deal even propelled the group to the top-10 broadband group ranking of InfoCom in 4Q16.
Aside from Liberty Global and Vodafone, Telekom Austria is reportedly strengthening further its European foothold as well, especially its Croatian, Belarusian, and Macedonian segments. Indeed, Telekom Austria group has been actively expanding in these markets, with Garant (Gomel) in Belarus being the most recent acquisition in 3Q17. With continued expansions, Telekom Austria is foreseen to increase its contribution to more than 9% of the total broadband subscriber base of America Movil Group – from just 8% in 2016 (third largest contributor among its subsidiaries). Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom is also expected to finalise the acquisition of Tele2’s Dutch division for EUR 190mn - forming the third largest convergent operator in the Dutch market. InfoCom expects DT’s Dutch unit to contribute around 3% to the total fixed broadband proportionate subscribers once the deal is closed – possibly driving the group up the seventh spot from its current ninth position.