Competition, 5G Capex May Sway APAC Telecom Sector Outlook
The degree of competition and the pace of 5G investments will shape the outlook for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) telecom sector, Fitch Ratings says. They expect a steady rating trajectory for most of the companies in our APAC telecom portfolio amid prudent capital preservation and a gradual EBITDA recovery in 2021.
The impact of 5G capex will be uneven across our portfolio of rated companies due to asymmetrical development. Emerging markets like India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines are likely to pace 5G investments over the next few years to support cash flow, and enable investments to meet proven demand.
Meanwhile, incumbent telcos in advanced 5G markets such as South Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia are likely to position 5G as a network differentiator to strengthen their competitiveness. Singapore's 5G investment will provide an indication of the stand-alone network costs.
Uncertainties over the resumption of growth in telecoms revenue, competitive intensity and 5G investments are the top issues for credit investors in the APAC telecoms sector. Fitch's report includes the key questions received from investors and our views on each issue after our sector outlook round table webinar and follow-up investor calls in December 2020.