L1 Technology: investing to improve connectivity and efficiency, expanding opportunity and making an impact on people’s lives in their communities.
Upp launched in June 2021 with an investment of over £1bn and a goal of deploying a Fibre-to-the-Premises network to more than one million homes and businesses by 2025. It began by initially concentrating on underserved parts of Lincolnshire and Norfolk, where broadband speeds are currently well below the national average. Using next generation technology, Upp is now offering a transformational service that, in some instances, delivers speeds which are 30 times faster than those previously available. Having already connected customers in Diss, Stamford, Thetford and Market Deeping, Upp’s next level broadband is currently being rolled out in more market towns.
By recruiting local people and using local suppliers, the business is set to exceed its target of creating 600 jobs by the end of next year. As the workforce grows, applications have been encouraged from ex-forces personnel, giving veterans the opportunity to continue their careers in communications or discover a completely new role – for example, former RAF dog handler, James Reburn, has now become a qualified field engineer through his training with Upp.
In line with the L1 strategy of long-term investment, Upp is building enduring relationships within the communities it serves. It has partnered many community events, including tackling food poverty in Stamford, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, supported the charity Santa Fun Run at Burghley Park and stocked shelves in the library of a Norfolk school.
As a business that is levelling-up underserved areas through its broadband services, Upp has also sought opportunities to help in social mobility for its workforce. It has signed up to the social mobility pledge, offering employees the chance to share in the ownership of the business and ensuring that its people are given the opportunity to grow their careers whilst working
in a safe, fair and inclusive environment.
All this while Upp’s teams of engineers and contractors work steadily to connect streets, villages and whole towns, delivering on the promises it has made and with the minimum of disruption. The extensive use of existing Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA), such as Openreach ducts and poles, means far less disruption to neighbourhoods. In just a few exciting months since launch, these neighbourhoods are now beginning to experience how lives can be transformed and businesses can grow with Upp’s next level broadband.
VEON’s core mission is to provide customers with connectivity, access to information and other vital digital services, which is more important than ever. It believes that connectivity and communication are essential human needs, whether it be connecting with loved ones, seeking help or searching for information and news from reliable sources.
It is a leading global telecommunications company, serving 217 million customers in high-growth markets in the CIS, South Asia and North Africa with connectivity and digital services.
After four quarters of accelerating growth, in local currency terms VEON recorded double digit (+10.1%) revenue growth and an +8.9% rise in EBITDA for the full year, both above guidance. It saw solid double-digit year-on-year local currency revenue growth in Ukraine (14.3%), Pakistan (14.9%), Kazakhstan (22.6%) and Georgia (15.2%).
VEON’s growth agenda is focused on three pillars: Digital Operators, Infrastructure and Ventures.
High-speed connectivity is vital for our society and for the continuous improvement of the indispensable services it supports – as further highlighted by the COVID pandemic. VEON is committed to bringing the benefits of 4G technologies to its entire customer base, making 4G the operational cornerstone of its present and future growth, while offering 5G in B2B areas for specific applications where required.
During 2021, VEON has extended its 4G services to 22.4mn more users (including Algeria), bringing its 4G user base to 97.3mn customers as at 31 December 2021. This means 48% of its base were 4G users at the end of 2021. With an aspiration to reach 70% 4G subscriber penetration over the next two years, 4G usage will continue to be the main engine of VEON’s growth strategy. Such broad connectivity enables VEON’s digital operators to focus on delivering digital services in fintech, entertainment, mobile education, mobile health and lifestyle as well as contributing to the digital transformation of businesses and government services.
In 2021, across its operations, VEON saw the impact of this strategy in improving customer retention and engagement: customers who were users of its voice, 4G data and digital services demonstrated 4.3 times higher ARPU than the average voice user, while churn rate was about one-third that of the average voice user as at 31 December 2021.
VEON has continued its transition to an asset-light company by completing the sale of its mobile network towers in Russia. It is making significant progress on similar value generation projects in its other larger markets, where it sees potential for further transactions in the short to medium term.
Ventures is one of the three main vectors of future value creation for VEON. It closed 2021 with 6.4mn customers of the Toffee entertainment service in Bangladesh and with 15.2mn monthly active users for the JazzCash mobile banking service in Pakistan.
Finally, VEON has taken strong steps on governance. A new distributed decision-making model is now fully in operation, with increased efficiency and a diversified composition of in-country boards in its countries of operation. The in-country operations, as well as highly capable and empowered leadership teams, are supported by a small, highly qualified and talented team at the headquarters in Amsterdam, which is focused on ensuring VEON delivers on its strategy and conducting relationships with its stakeholders and regulatory bodies.
Turkcell achieved strong operational and financial results for the last year, driven by its digital-oriented strategy. L1 has been clear throughout the year that improved governance can lead to even stronger performance for 2022 and beyond, and we are pleased to have seen progress on this.
Q1 2022 revenues increased +36.7% year-on-year to TRY10.7bn due to increased ARPU growth and larger subscriber base of Turkcell Turkey; EBITDA grew +30.1% year-on-year to TRY4.3bn with EBITDA margin of 40.2%.
Growth and profitability were supported by continued strong ARPU performance, driven by an enlarged post-paid subscriber base, rising data and digital service usage, and customer movement to higher value tariffs.
The company generated over TRY1.0bn of free cash flow from operations and delivered 1.2x with the proposed dividend of $15mn to L1 for 2022, in line with the highest rate permissible by the legislation, and reflects the strong fundamentals of the business.
L1 has taken a proactive position in increasing the value of the investments through outstanding governance. We are pleased that the Turkcell Board of Directors has decided to appoint a new international Independent Board Member to the Board.
Turkcell has also listened to the L1 suggestion to establish the Strategy and Digitalisation Committee, setting objectives, supervising digital development and optimising free cash flow generation parameters.
In line with L1’s proposal, the company announced plans to monetise its market leading subsidiaries Paycell and Superonline.
The Turkish communication market has been very dynamic during the last year. It was announced that control over Turk Telekom, the largest competitor of Turkcell, will go to the Turkish Wealth Fund – the controlling shareholder of Turkcell. This is a market-changing decision in the current environment, and we are closely monitoring how this may affect the market and what opportunities this may bring for L1.