Report reveals impact of pandemic on telcos

CHANNEL ISLANDERS used more data and made more calls in 2020 but overall revenue for telecoms operators fell as travel restrictions hit, an official report has found.

The report, complied for Channel Islands competition regulators, has revealed the impact of the pandemic on the industry in Guernsey and Jersey.

Turnover in Guernsey was marginally up, while it fell slightly in Jersey – but there was an overall reduction in revenue in the Channel Islands.

Increased home working and internet-based meetings as well as fewer inbound and outbound travellers were listed in the report as factors affecting the sector as governments introduced lockdown and other restrictions to control Covid-19’s spread.

‘Continuing a strong upward trend, both islands experienced accelerated increases in data usage per subscriber per month in 2020. In Guernsey data usage rose by 38.1% while in Jersey it increased by 42.8%.’

The total number of mobile call minutes increased by 26.9% in Guernsey in 2020 and 22.5% in Jersey.

‘Mobile data volumes have increased by 38.2% in Guernsey and by 25.6% in Jersey,’ added the report.

‘Despite increases in mobile minutes and data volume, mobile revenue has fallen, driven partly by a 69% decrease in out-roaming revenues.’

There was also a resurgence in the number of fixed call network minutes after a period of continuing decline over the last six years, with Guernsey up by 7.6% and Jersey up by 10.8%.

While overall revenues were slightly down, the report said telecoms still made a valuable contribution to the Channel Islands’ economies. Total turnover was £166.6m. in 2020 – down from £167.5m. in 2019.

This was made up of £62.6m. in Guernsey and £104.1m. in Jersey – representing a 1.6% increase and 1.7% decrease in each island respectively compared to 2019.

Turnover covers fixed line, mobile, internet, the sale of handsets and the provision of telecommunications associated with data centre and hosting services. It also includes revenues associated with Channel Island subscribers while on and off the islands, plus revenue from visitors to the islands in 2020.

Telecoms employed 794 full time equivalent staff as at the end of 2020 – 211 in Guernsey and 583 in Jersey. That compared with 2019 figures of 804 full time equivalent staff, made up of 212 in Guernsey and 592 in Jersey.

Some £6.1m. in Guernsey and £14.4m. in Jersey was contributed to their respective exchequers through corporate, staff and social taxes. Capital project investment stood at £17.5m. in Jersey and £3.6m. in Guernsey.

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