I have updated my competitive telecom trends page with the published numbers from the second quarter of 2010. This page is automatically generated from a spreadsheet I store in Google Docs and update periodically. However, it was pointed out to me that Google's charts lack the different symbols one can generate from Excel and therefore aren't suitable for the color-challenged amongst us - plus they just don't look as good. Yet they are very convenient for sharing data and automatically posting changes. As a compromise I decided to improve the presentation at least for my regular quarterly blog post on the subject with better charts drawn from the same data. In this post, let's look at two graphs: relative revenue growth and capex as a percentage of revenue since the beginning of 2008:
For the most part, the overall trends continued as is. Abovenet reclaimed the growth title from CBeyond, but the two remain close. Cogent's return to growth has them moving steadily toward the leaders. RCN Metro and TW Telecom continued their extremely steady progress, but with no fireworks. Sprint Wireline continued its downward churn, while both Level 3 and Deltacom continued to stabilize. Global Crossing's pullback from wholesale voice pulled them back, and while XO's surge is visible we can see they have a ways to go to establishing a new trend.
Now, did capex levels reflect those revenue trends this quarter?
Pretty much. Sprint Wireline's capex is falling as a percentage of revenue even as its revenues themselves decline, suggesting they will continue on their current trajectory. But there are several companies on this chart which have seen an uptick in capex levels lately that suggest better growth is in the wings. TW Telecom's capex has now been above 25% for several quarters and is expected to stay there for the second half. Level 3's capex surged back over 10% of revenue, where it hasn't been for quite some time, also suggesting second half growth. And, interestingly, Deltacom seems to be spending more of late, reflecting perhaps a greater focus on their fiber assets. XO's spending has been up slightly in the past few quarters, but not enough to suggest Q3 will be as big as Q2.
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