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United Kingdom - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses

United Kingdom - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses

The UK has one of the largest mobile markets in Europe, both in terms of revenue and in the number of subscribers. It is served by several major providers having a significant international presence. Recent merger activity has seen dramatic consolidation in the market and has had knock-on effects for network infrastructure deals struck between operators. The merger of Orange and T-Mobile created EE as the largest operator in the country, and in January 2016 it was sold to BT to become a separate business unit within BT Group. The bid by Hutchison to acquire O2 was rejected by the European Commission in May 2016 on the grounds that the deal would have reduced the number of MNOs to three, and so impacted on market competition.

The market has room for a growing number of low-cost MVNOs providing effective price and service competition for subscribers. The market has also been characterised by developments in advanced data services delivered over upgraded networks, the bundling of mobile as a quad-play service, and regulatory controls on charges and fees. Mobile penetration is above the EU average, and in common with developments in many other European markets subscriber growth has dipped in recent quarters as consumers respond to economic pressures and more generous pricing offers among operators which has negated some of the justifications for multiple SIM card ownership.

Auctions for spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands have made more bandwidth available for mobile broadband services, supported by regulatory moves which allow the refarming of 2G spectrum for 3G and 4G use. Spectrum will also be released in the 700MHz band during 2019, which spectrum is also being allocated for 5G. Operators continue to trial 5G technologies with a number of key vendor partners.

This report surveys the UK's mobile market, providing an overview of mobile statistics, regulatory issues and technologies. It also profiles the major operators and MVNOs and looks ahead to mobile market developments in coming years.

Key developments

Ofcom completes 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum auction;Vodafone aiming to close 3G infrastructure by 2020, EE by 2022;
EE achieves 2.8Gb/s in pre-5G trials, plans to launch services in 16 cities in 2019;
MNOs extend Wi-Fi calling and VoLTE services;
New rates for MNP imposed;
Government increases funding for 5G test-beds;
4G auction in 2.6GHz and 800MHz bands delivers £2.34 billion;
Vodafone trials LTE-V2X technology;
Report update includes the regulator's market updates to June 2018, telcos' financial and operating data to Q3 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

H3, Vodafone, O2, Everything Everywhere (BT/EE, incorporating the former T-Mobile UK and Orange UK), Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile.


  • SYNOPSIS
  • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • Table Call volumes, fixed-line and mobile in minutes – 2003 - 2017
    • Table Mobile retail revenue by service – 2002 - 2018
  • MOBILE STATISTICS
    • Table Historic - Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate – 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2009
    • Table Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
    • Table Mobile ARPU by contract, prepaid – 2006 - 2018
    • Table Average household spend of fixed-voice, mobile and internet services – 2008 - 2016
    • Table Prepaid and contract subscribers – 2002 - 2018
    • OPERATOR MARKET SHARES
      • Table Mobile market share by operator – 2004 - 2016
  • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
    • 5G
      • Government support
      • Operators
    • 4G (LTE)
      • Table LTE subscribers – 2013 - 2018
      • Table Average 3G and 4G speeds (Mb/s) –2014 - 2015
      • O2
        • Table O2 LTE subscribers and penetration – 2014 - 2018
      • EE
        • Table EE LTE subscribers – 2013 - 2015
      • Vodafone
      • H3
    • 3G
      • Network sharing
      • H3
      • O2
      • Vodafone
      • T-Mobile / Orange
      • EE
    • OTHER INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENTS
      • M2M networks
        • Table M2M connections – 2010 - 2018
        • Table O2 M2M accesses – 2014 - 2018
      • NB-IoT
  • MOBILE VOICE
  • MOBILE DATA
    • Table Average mobile data traffic per user– 2011 - 2017
    • SMS AND MMS
      • Table SMS and MMS messages sent – 2004 - 2018
      • Table Average SMS/MMS traffic per month by contract type – 2010 - 2017
      • Table SMS and MMS revenue – 2015 - 2017
    • MOBILE BROADBAND
      • Table Dedicated mobile broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2018
      • Table Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2018
      • Table Broadband take-up by technology – 2007 - 2016
  • FORECASTS – MOBILE SUBSCRIBERS – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • Table Forecast mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • REGULATORY ISSUES
    • SPECTRUM REGULATIONS
    • SPECTRUM REFARMING
    • SPECTRUM SHARING
    • SPECTRUM 2.6GHZ
    • SPECTRUM 800MHZ
    • SPECTRUM 900MHZ
    • SPECTRUM 700MHZ
    • SPECTRUM 1800MHZ
    • SPECTRUM 2.3GHZ AND 3.4GHZ
    • REVISED LICENCE CONDITIONS
    • OTHER SPECTRUM AUCTIONS
    • ROAMING
      • Table European roaming charges – 2007 – 2016
      • Table European data roaming charges – 2014 - 2017
    • MOBILE NUMBER PORTABILITY (MNP)
    • MOBILE TERMINATION RATES (MTRS)
      • Table MTRs by operator (pence per minute) –2015 - 2018
      • Table Mobile interconnection traffic – 2007 - 2018
  • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
    • HUTCHISON 3
      • Table H3 registered subscribers by sector – 2008 - 2018
      • Table H3 active subscribers by sector – 2014 - 2018
      • Table H3 financial data – 2008 - 2018
      • Table H3 annualised gross ARPU by sector – 2009 - 2018
    • O2
      • Table O2 financial data –2007 - 2018
      • Table O2 quarterly financial data –2013 - 2018
      • Table O2 ARPU – blended, contract, prepaid and data – 2006 - 2018
      • Table O2 proportion of data to service revenue – 2006 - 2018
      • Table O2 subscribers, prepaid and contract – 2005 - 2018
      • Proposed sale to BT
      • Proposed sale to H3
    • VODAFONE
      • Table Vodafone end-year ARPU – blended, contract and prepaid – 2005 - 2018
      • Table Vodafone (UK) subscribers and proportion prepaid – 2001 - 2018
      • Table Vodafone (UK) mobile financial data – 2008 - 2019
      • Table Vodafone customer churn – 2007 - 2018
      • Table Vodafone Group revenue by sector – 2007 - 2019
      • Table Vodafone UK mobile service revenue by sector – 2009 - 2019
      • Table Vodafone mobile customer retention cost – 2007 - 2019
      • Table Vodafone customer smartphone adoption – 2010 - 2016
      • Table Vodafone mobile data traffic – 2013 - 2018
      • Project Spring
      • Sales and acquisitions
    • EE
      • Table EE quarterly revenue (old format) –2009 - 2016
      • Table EE financial data (old format) –2011 - 2015
      • Table EE mobile revenue (new format under BT) –2017 - 2018
      • Table EE quarterly mobile revenue (new format under BT) –2016 - 2018
      • Table EE ARPU (Q4) –2009 - 2018
      • Table EE subscriber data – 2009 - 2018
      • Sale to BT
    • MOBILE VIRTUAL NETWORK OPERATORS (MVNOS)
      • Table Virgin Mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2018
      • Table Virgin Mobile revenue – 2007 - 2017
      • Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs)
  • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
    • MOBILE APPLICATIONS
    • M-PAYMENT MNO COLLABORATION
    • OPERATOR PLATFORMS
    • CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS
    • M-TICKETING
    • M-BANKING
    • M-HEALTH
  • RELATED REPORTS

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