VEON reveals Capex plans for 2021 focusing on 4G network

VEON has revealed financial guidance for 2021 — anticipating low to mid-single-digit growth in revenue and EBITDA, Capex intensity of 22-23 percent and group leverage of around 2.4x.
Beeline smartphone customers in RussiaVEON said its operational capex was USD 674 million in 4Q20, up from the USD 579 million recorded in 4Q19, due mainly to VEON’s focus on its 4G network investment program. VEON said the Capex intensity over the last twelve months was 23.7 percent.

Capex in Q4 2020

Beeline Russia

Capex excluding licenses and leases (operational capex) increased by 33.5 percent in 4Q20. Capex intensity was 27 percent, reflecting network investment.

Beeline Russia increased its number of 4G base stations by 25 percent, focusing in particular on major cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as other regional hubs.

In 2020, Beeline tripled the pace of network development in Moscow compared to 2019, fully covered Moscow metro stations with 4G, redistributed frequency ranges for the high-speed data services and implemented Voice over LTE technology.

Kyivstar Ukraine

Capex excluding licenses and leases increased by 25.9 percent and capex intensity was 19.3 percent for 4Q20. Kyivstar’s strategic focus included further 4G roll-out during the quarter, driving 4G population coverage of 86 percent.

In 4Q20, Kyivstar and Vodafone continued their 4G mobile network sharing arrangement in rural areas and on highways. Moreover, Kyivstar played a key role in accelerating the development of the 4G nation-wide infrastructure by voluntarily returning to the state its 900 MHz bands.

Jazz Pakistan

Capex excluding licenses and leases was PKR 12.3 billion in 4Q20, resulting in Capex intensity of 20.2 percent versus 16.2 percent in 4Q19. Within this, 4G network investment continued to be the principal focus, the population coverage of which reached 59 percent during the quarter, compared to 52 percent in 4Q19.

Beeline Kazaksthan

Capex excluding licenses and leases was KZT 20.1 billion and Capex intensity was 25.0 percent. In 4Q20, investments were mainly focused on expanding Beeline’s 4G network in order to satisfy the continued rise in high-speed data demand.

In 2020, Beeline has provided 4G network coverage to new territories with 1.3 million residents. In addition, in 4Q20 Beeline commenced network sharing with other operators in support of the government’s rural broadband initiative which aims to bridge the digital divide across the country’s rural areas.

Banglalink Bangladesh

Banglalink’s ARPU rose 3.5 percent in 4Q20, while cost optimization initiatives contributed to improvement in EBITDA. A continued drive to enhance 4G network supported 5.7 percent growth in data customers and 22.1 percent growth in data revenue.

Banglalink has used digital channels to facilitate top-ups, account management and the adoption of additional services. The user base of Banglalink’s self-care app increased by 20 percent during 4Q20 compared to 3Q20 while Banglalink’s video streaming app Toffee gained 2.3 million monthly active users since its launch one year ago.

Ookla has selected Banglalink as the Fastest Mobile Network in Bangladesh based on Ookla Speedtest Awards for the second half of 2020. Previously, Banglalink won the same award for the first half of 2020.