Market Research Logo

United Kingdom - Mobile Market Insights, Statistics and Forecasts


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

United Kingdom - Mobile Market Insights, Statistics and Forecasts

The UK has one of the largest mobile markets in Europe, both in revenue and in the number of subscribers. It is served by four major providers following the significant merger of Orange and T-Mobile which have all launched 3G services, as well as by a growing number of low-cost MVNOs. The market is characterised by new developments in advanced data services provided 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, yet subscriber growth remains strong as consumers adopt additional SIMs as well as business-oriented devices and smartphones on various platforms.

Fierce competition has forced operators to concentrate on packaging service bundles and on promotions, and explore applications such as mobile searching and advertising facilities. ARPU has been falling steadily for all operators, with growing mobile data use offsetting lower voice, interconnection and roaming tariffs. The market can expect considerable changes during the next two years as operators prepare their business plans to accommodate spectrum auctions in 2012 and adjust to the refarming of 2G spectrum for 3G and 4G use. 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 developments in coming years.

Key developments

BT in talks with Telefónica and EE on potential acquisitions; Vodafone sells 5.5% stake in Indian division Essar and 44% stake in SFR, sells stake in Verizon Wireless for £84 billion; government commits £150 million to its Mobile Infrastructure Project to improve rural mobile coverage; China Telecom launches MVNO service; H3 signs five-year managed services contract with Huawei; 4G auction in 2.6GHz and 800MHz bands delivers £2.34 billion; regular's market reports and updates; telcos' financial and operating data to Q1 2014; market developments to mid-2014.

Companies covered in this report include:

H3UK, Vodafone, O2, Everything Everywhere (EE, incorporating T-Mobile and Orange), Virgin Mobile, Tesco mobile,


1. Synopsis
2. Overview of the UK's mobile market
2.1 Mobile statistics
2.2 Operator market shares
3. Regulatory issues
3.1 Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
3.2 Spectrum refarming
3.2.1 800MHz and 2.6GHz
3.2.2 1800MHz
3.3 Roaming
3.4 Number portability
3.5 Mobile termination rates (MTRs)
4. Major mobile operators
4.1 Hutchison 3
4.2 O2
4.3 Vodafone
4.3.1 Project Spring
4.3.2 Sales and acquisitions
4.3.3 Company restructure
4.4 EE
4.4.1 T-Mobile
4.4.2 Orange
4.5 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
4.5.1 Operators
4.5.2 Mobile Virtual Network Aggregators (MVNAs)
5. Mobile voice services
5.1 Prepaid cards
6. Forecasts
6.1 Forecasts mobile ARPU - 2007 - 2010; 2015; 2020
6.2 Forecasts mobile subscribers and penetration 2010 - 2016
6.3 Notes on scenario forecasts
7. Related reports
Table 1 Call volumes, fixed-line and mobile in minutes 2003 - 2014
Table 2 Mobile retail revenue by service 2002 - 2014
Table 3 Mobile revenue as proportion of total 2002 - 2013
Table 4 Mobile subscriber market share by technology: 2G and 3G 2004 - 2014
Table 5 Mobile handset sales 2005 - 2013
Table 6 Historic - Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2004
Table 7 Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate 2005 - 2014
Table 8 Mobile broadband subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 9 Percentages of mobile and fixed phones in homes 2000 - 2014
Table 10 Mobile ARPU by use (data, SMS, voice) 2005 - 2014
Table 11 Mobile ARPU by contract, prepaid 2006 - 2013
Table 12 Mobile market share by operator 2004 - 2013
Table 13 European roaming charges 2007 - 2014
Table 14 MTRs by operator (pence per minute) 2010 - 2015
Table 15 3 UK subscribers by sector 2008 - 2013
Table 16 3 UK financial data 2008 - 2013
Table 17 3 UK annualised gross ARPU by sector 2009 - 2013
Table 18 O2 financial data 2007 - 2014
Table 19 O2 ARPU blended, contract, prepaid and data 2006 - 2014
Table 20 O2 proportion of data to total revenue 2006 - 2014
Table 21 O2 subscribers, prepaid and contract 2005 - 2014
Table 22 Vodafone end-year ARPU blended, contract and prepaid 2005 - 2014
Table 23 Vodafone (UK) subscribers and proportion prepaid 2001 - 2014
Table 25 Vodafone customer churn 2007 - 2014
Table 26 Vodafone Group revenue by sector 2007 - 2014
Table 27 Vodafone UK service revenue by sector 2009 - 2014
Table 28 Vodafone mobile customer retention cost 2007 - 2014
Table 29 Vodafone customer smartphone adoption 2010 - 2014
Table 30 EE quarterly revenue 2009 - 2014
Table 31 EE financial data 2011 - 2013
Table 32 EE ARPU 2009 - 2014
Table 33 EE subscriber data 2009 - 2014
Table 34 T-Mobile financial data (historic) 2005 - 2010
Table 35 T-Mobile subscribers (historic) 2005 - 2010
Table 36 Orange subscribers, contract and prepaid (historic) 2006 - 2010
Table 37 Orange subscribers by type, 3G, MVNO (historic) 2007 - 2010
Table 38 Orange revenue (historic) 2005 - 2010
Table 39 Orange customer churn (historic) 2003 - 2009
Table 40 Orange data revenue as proportion of total (historic) 2007 - 2009
Table 41 Orange annualised ARPU by category (historic) 2006 - 2010
Table 42 Orange mobile customer acquisition and retention cost (historic) 2007 - 2009
Table 43 MNO and MVNO share of subscribers 2004 - 2011
Table 44 Virgin Mobile subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 45 Virgin Mobile revenue 2007 - 2014
Table 46 Prepaid and contract subscribers 2002 - 2013
Table 47 Contract proportion of total subscribers 2002 - 2013
Table 48 Forecast mobile ARPU 2007 - 2010; 2015; 2020
Table 49 Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate 2010 - 2016
Chart 1 Call volumes, fixed-line and mobile in minutes 2003 - 2014
Chart 2 Mobile retail revenue by service 2002 - 2014
Chart 3 Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate 2003 - 2014
Chart 4 3 UK subscribers by sector 2008 - 2013
Chart 5 3 UK ARPU by sector 2009 - 2013
Chart 6 O2 financial data 2007 - 2014
Chart 7 O2 annualised ARPU blended, contract, prepaid and data 2006 - 2014
Chart 8 O2 subscribers, prepaid and contract 2005 - 2014
Chart 9 Vodafone ARPU blended, contract and prepaid 2005 - 20134
Chart 10 Vodafone (UK) subscribers and proportion prepaid 2001 - 2014
Chart 12 Vodafone Group revenue by sector 2007 - 2014
Chart 13 Vodafone UK service revenue by sector 2009 - 2014
Chart 14 EE quarterly revenue 2009 - 2014
Chart 15 EE ARPU 2009 - 2014
Chart 16 EE subscriber data 2009 - 2014
Chart 17 Prepaid and contract subscribers 2002 - 2013
Exhibit 1 Spectrum awards 800MHz and 2.6GHz 2013

Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

Download eBook

Share this report