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MásMóvil’s claim to be Spain’s biggest fibre operator is misleading

MásMóvil is making a lot of noise about being Spain’s largest fibre operator, claiming it has the broadest FTTH footprint of all four players.

That statement is not incorrect, but it really depends how you choose to interpret the figures: the MásMóvil way, or in a slightly different way that gives a truer picture of the market.

MásMóvil’s claim is based on the fact that its FTTH services are available to more than 26 million homes in Spain, a figure no other Spanish operator has yet achieved, it says. Indeed, a quick look at Telefónica’s recently-published full-year results shows that its ultra-broadband FTTH network passed 25.2 million homes as of the end of last year.

But MásMóvil’s footprint is not all of its own doing. Spain’s fourth-largest operator has rolled out fibre to 14 million homes; the remaining 12 million are accessible via a wholesale deal with Telefónica, including bitstream access. So essentially, MásMóvil has rolled out fibre to a couple of places not yet reached by the incumbent, and as a result is claiming to have better fibre coverage.

Its statistics may not be inaccurate, but its headline seems little disingenuous.

That 26 million figure represents growth of 73% over two years, MásMóvil notes; at end-2018 the firm had 15 million marketable homes for FTTH.

Interestingly, the growth rate of the telco’s own fibre infrastructure was more impressive, albeit from a lower base, coming in at 133% over the same period, with homes passed more than doubling from 6 million to 14 million. One cannot help but think that that would have been a better number to crow about. As it is, it gets lost a bit amongst the misdirected hype.

Another aspect MásMóvil should perhaps have taken into account is its take-up rate. Because having the most homes passed in Spain – through its own efforts and those of others – does not translate to having the most customers.

MásMóvil has 1.8 million FTTH customers, which represents a sizeable 90% of its 2 million-strong fixed broadband customers, across its various brands, including Yoigo, MásMóvil, Pepephone and Llamaya. By way of comparison, from slightly fewer homes passed Telefónica has built up an FTTH retail customer base of 4.6 million.

Ultimately, MásMóvil is doing pretty well in the fibre market. It is Spain’s smallest and newest fixed and mobile network operator and it is making good progress. But it would have been well advised to focus on its actual achievements, rather than trying to inflate its position with clever headlines.

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