Deutsche Telekom has cemented its position as the most valuable telecoms brand in Europe, as Orange overtook Vodafone and Telecom Italia (TIM) delivered the highest growth among the continent’s leading operators.

The findings are part of Brand Finance’s latest ranking of the 300 most valuable telco brands, which reveal AT&T remained the world leader and Huawei is again the top vendor.

Deutsche Telekom, which has seen its brand value jump 10.2 percent over the past 12 months to reach $40.15 billion, said it had delivered continuous growth since the T brand was relaunched in 2008.

Brand Finance Analyst Lorenzo Coruzzi and Consultant Vinchy Chan told European Communications that the Germany-based operator’s financial performance, strong network as well as customer acquisition and retention were key to its continued success.

Yesterday (22 February) Deutsche Telekom revealed revenues rose 2.5 percent to €74.95 billion in 2017, while EBITDA jumped 6.3 percent to €23.97 billion.

[Read more: Share price fall “bums us out” says outgoing Deutsche Telekom CFO]

The company has even hired pop star Justin Bieber to advertise its zero-rated content service StreamOn.

Orange, itself celebrating what it called a “remarkable” financial performance this week, surpassed Vodafone to become the second most valuable telecoms brand in Europe.

The France-based operator saw its brand value increase 3.2 percent to $22.21 billion, while its UK-based rival slipped 14.1 percent to $18.74 billion.

Vodafone took measures to rectify its performance last October, when it unveiled a new brand strategy.

The “significant evolution” of its strapline and visual identity, backed up by the largest advertising campaign in the company’s history, continues to be rolled out.

Coruzzi and Chan said: “Focusing on the theme of optimism about the future, the new strapline asks: ‘The future is exciting. Ready?’.

“It will be interesting to see whether this will have a positive impact on next year’s metrics.

“The new campaign will only deliver if Vodafone keeps up with product innovation to deliver its ‘future’ promise.”

[Read more: Vodafone ties new brand strategy to “tech for good” theme]

Another operator in the “one to watch” bracket is Altice, which made its debut on Brand Finance’s ranking as the 24th most valuable brand in Europe.

The company is in the middle of rebranding all its opcos, including SFR in France and Portugal Telecom, under the Altice name.

However, it has ongoing financial concerns as investors worry about its debt pile in particular.

“The company’s share price fell off a cliff due to a negative surprise in its Q3 2017 earnings results," Coruzzi and Chan said.

“We are watching how Altice will restore its value proposition and differentiate itself to lead the competition with a new brand strategy.

“They are embracing a ‘masterbrand’ strategy and we’ll see the results by mid-2018.”

Both Vodafone and Altice could take lessons from TIM, which saw its brand value jump 33.3 percent to $8.66 billion last year.

But Luca Josi, TIM’s Head of Brand Strategy and Media, told European Communications he is not keen to share the secrets of his success.

“If I had a teaching, and this represented a competitive advantage, I could not share it,” he said.

The exec, who said Batman was the brand he admired most outside of telecoms, has presided over a rebrand that took place in 2016.

With typical Italian flair, the operator chose the medium of dance to communicate to customers what the new brand is all about.

“We have developed a distinctive and original communication format based on dance that...has an increasing viral success, generating aggregation and engagement,” Josi explained.

Coruzzi and Chan said: “[TIM] went from portraying itself as a simple telephone operator to a technological player offering innovative products and services through the development of enabling platforms, from fixed and mobile ultra-broadband networks to cloud computing through to next generation IT.”

TIM was the seventh most valuable telecoms brand in Europe, ahead of O2, Three and Telenor.

Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Vodafone finished ahead of BT in fourth place, Movistar in fifth and Sky in sixth.

Globally, AT&T finished ahead of Verizon, China Mobile and NTT Group, with Deutsche Telekom in fifth place.

On the vendor side, Huawei increased its brand value by 50.8 percent to $38.05 billion.

The China-based company’s brand is now worth almost double second-placed Cisco and almost $30 billion more than Nokia in third place.

Click here to download the Brand Finance ranking.

A special report on the ranking, including interviews with Brand Finance and TIM’s Head of Brand, will be available to pick up at Mobile World Congress next week.

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