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United Kingdom - Mobile Data Market Insights - 3G, 4G and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

The UK’s 3G and mobile data market is one of the largest in Europe. Competition among network operators has induced them to provide similar pricing and usage models, commonly including between 3GB and 10GB per month. This has substantially increased consumer use of mobile data. Low-key data applications such as SMS dominate the market while mobile TV, though widely available, has thus far failed to capture public attention. This report surveys the UK’s mobile data market, providing an overview of 3G developments, regulatory issues and technologies. It also profiles the major operators, presents statistics on non-voice services, and analyses developments in mobile TV and mobile application stores.

Key developments:

Ofcom claims 4G spectrum efficiency gains of up to 200% on 3G; 800MHz and 2.6GHz auction delayed until 2013; Big Three m-commerce initiative; UK broadband LTE developments in 3.5GHz band; EE and BT Wholesale trial LTE in the 800MHz band; 3UK reports 97% of all network traffic is data; O2 and Vodafone sign network sharing deal; MBNL signs £100 million network deal with Virgin Media Business; EE prepares LTE launch using refarmed 1800MHz holdings; potential LTE interference with DTTV in 800MHz band; upgrades HSPA+ network to 21Mb/s; O2 and Vodafone joint network plans approved by OFT; EE signs m-payment deal with MasterCard; Pingit mobile payment app launched; regulator’s 2011 market data; operator data to June 2012; market developments to October 2012.

Companies covered in this report include:

H3, O2, Vodafone, Everything Everywhere (EE), Virgin Mobile, UK Broadband.


1. Synopsis
2. Overview
3. Spectrum
3.1 Spectrum 2.6GHz
3.2 Spectrum 600MHz
3.3 Spectrum 800MHz
3.4 Spectrum 900MHz
3.5 Spectrum 700MHz
3.6 Spectrum 1800MHz
3.7 Third Generation (3G)
3.7.1 Licensing
3.7.2 Network sharing
3.8 Fourth Generation (4G)
4. Operator services – 3G
4.1 Hutchison 3
4.2 O2
4.3 Vodafone
4.4 Everything Everywhere (EE)
5. Mobile Messaging
5.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
5.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
6. Mobile data services
6.1 Consumer use of multimedia services
6.1.1 Mobile applications
6.1.2 M-payment collaboration
6.1.3 M-ticketing
6.1.4 M-wallet
6.1.5 Application stores
6.1.6 Smartphone market
6.2 High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA)
6.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
6.3.1 H3
6.3.2 Services launched
6.3.3 Regulatory issues
6.4 Mobile TV
6.4.1 Spectrum issues
6.4.2 Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
7. Forecasts – UMTS – 2007 - 2010; 2015
8. Related reports
List of Tables, Charts and Exhibits
Table 1 – 3G subscribers and percentage of total subscribers – 2003 - 2012
Table 2 – 3G licence results – April 2000
Table 3 – 3G subscribers by operator – 2005 - 2011
Table 4 – 3 UK subscribers by sector – 2008 - 2012
Table 5 – 3 UK revenue by sector – 2008 - 2010
Table 6 – 3 UK annualised ARPU by sector – 2009 - 2011
Table 7 – 3 UK data as proportion total revenue – 2009 – 2011
Table 8 – O2 financial data –2007 - 2012
Table 9 – O2 subscribers, prepaid and contract – 2005 - 2012
Table 10 – Vodafone (UK) subscribers and proportion prepaid – 2001 - 2012
Table 11 – Vodafone (UK) financial data – 2008 - 2012
Table 12 – EE quarterly financial data – 2009 - 2012
Table 13 – EE ARPU – 2009 – 2012
Table 14 – EE subscriber data – 2009 - 2012
Table 15 – SMS messages sent – 2004- 2013
Table 16 – SMS and MMS revenue by operator – 2006 - 2010
Table 17 – SMS and MMS volumes by operator – 2006 - 2010
Table 18 – MMS messages sent – 2006 – 2013
Table 19 – Mobile data traffic and revenue increase– 2007 - 2012
Table 20 – Mobile data revenue by service – 2005 - 2012
Table 21 – Mobile broadband accesses by technology – 2007 - 2012
Table 22 – UK mobile advertising spend by type– 2009 - 2010
Table 23 – Smartphone sales and penetration – 2007 - 2012
Table 24 – M2M derived revenue – 2010 - 2012
Table 25 – Forecast UMTS subscribers – 2007 - 2012; 2015
Chart 1 – 3G subscribers and penetration rate – 2003 - 2012
Chart 2 – 3 UK subscribers by sector – 2008 – 2012
Chart 3 – 3 UK revenue by sector – 2008 - 2010
Chart 4 – 3 UK ARPU by sector – 2009 – 2011
Chart 5 – O2 financial data –2007 - 2012
Chart 6 – O2 subscribers, prepaid and contract – 2005 – 2012
Chart 7 – Vodafone (UK) subscribers and proportion prepaid – 2001 - 2012
Chart 8 – Vodafone (UK) financial data – 2007 – 2012
Chart 9 – EE quarterly financial data – 2009 – 2012
Chart 10 – EE ARPU – 2009 - 2012
Chart 11 – EE subscriber data – 2009 - 2012
Chart 12 – SMS and MMS revenue by operator – 2006 - 2010
Chart 13 – SMS and MMS volumes by operator – 2006 – 2010
Chart 14 – Smartphone use and penetration – 2007 - 2012
Exhibit 1 – Spectrum available for mobile services
Exhibit 2 – 3G licensee and infrastructure suppliers

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