United Kingdom - Mobile Market – Insights, Statistics and Analysis
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 major providers with 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 them in recent years. The merger of Orange and T-Mobile created EE as the largest operator, while during 2015 H3 absorbed O2 and BT's bid to acquire EE remains under the scrutiny of competition authorities. A growing number of low-cost MVNOs provide 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, 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 to 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. Spectrum auctions anticipated into 2016 will see more bandwidth made available for mobile broadband services, supported by regulatory moves which allow 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.
MTRs set to May 2018; BT Mobile launches cut-price services on EE's network; EE launches WiFi calling service; H3 reports 1% revenue growth in 2014; Hutchison to sell a 33% stake in Hutchison 3G UK Holdings to help pay for O2 acquisition; EE reports 224% growth in LTE subscriber base in the year to March 2015; Ofcom amends MNO licences to guarantee 90% geographic voice coverage by end-2017; Sky to become an MVNO on O2's network; EE develops micro antennae technology to extend mobile services to remote communities; TalkTalk secures access to O2's LTE network; BT's acquisition of EE for £12.5 billion proceeds, now requiring regulatory clearance; 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 2015; recent market developments.
Companies covered in this report include:
H3UK, Vodafone, O2, Everything Everywhere (EE, incorporating T-Mobile and Orange), Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile