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United Kingdom - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

United Kingdom - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

UK government adds to private sector investment for fibre broadband

The UK’s telecom market, one of the largest in Europe, is characterised by fierce competition in the mobile and broadband sectors. This has helped push up service penetration while helping to reduce consumer prices across the board. Network capabilities have also been greatly expanded following investments by the two principal telcos British Telecom and Virgin Media. Other operators including TalkTalk Group and Sky have made considerable effort to expand their quad-play offerings and so enable them to compete more effectively.

The mobile market is served by major providers which also have 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, which in January 2016 was sold to BT, becoming 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. Later in the year the broadcaster Sky joined the market through its Sky Mobile offering, while a growing number of low-cost MVNOs provide effective price and service competition for subscribers.

Anticipated auctions for spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands 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 spectrum is also being allocated for 5G use, while operators continue to trial 5G technologies with a number of key vendor partners.

The broadband market enjoys excellent cross-platform competition. DSL infrastructure is comprehensively available, while the main cable operator Virgin Media, owned by Liberty Global, aims to increase its footprint to cover about two-thirds of premises by 2019. The DSL network has been upgraded during the last few years with VDSL and Long Reach VDSL technologies, while British Telecom is also introducing G.fast as part of its multi-technology mix to provide ultra-fast broadband services to some 12 million premises by 2020. Virgin Media has also entered the fibre market, aiming to provide FttP to about one million customers while most of the remainder will eventually be serviced with the new DOCSIS3.1 standard. Openreach’s wholesale FttP service covered some 327,000 premises by the end of 2016 and is expected to reach over two million by the end of 2020.

For its part, the government has committed to invest over £1 billion in broadband infrastructure through new investment funds, including £400 million in rolling out FttP services.

This report provides analyses on the key aspects of the UK’s telecom market, presenting statistics on the fixed network services sector and an overview of the key regulatory issues. The report also surveys the mobile market, providing an overview of mobile statistics, an assessment of emerging technologies and services, and profiles of the major operators and MVNOs. In addition the report covers the broadband and digital media markets, including data on broadband technologies, and an assessment of regulatory matters and operator strategies aimed at delivering superfast broadband capabilities.

Key developments:

BT and Huawei trial 3Tb/s channel over existing fibre;

Ofcom develops plan for Openreach to be given greater independence within BT Group;

Vodafone aiming to close 3G infrastructure by 2020;

Sky enters the mobile market via its MVNO Sky Mobile;

MTRs set to May 2018;

BT retains EE as a separate business post-acquisition;

MNOs extend Wi-Fi calling and VoLTE services;

700MHz spectrum to be made available for mobile data services by mid-2020;

Ofcom identifies four frequency bands for 5G use, plans 5G licensing by 2018;

Vodafone trials LTE-V2X technology;

Openreach aiming to commercialise Dark Fibre Access product by October 2017;

CityFibre expands 1Gb/s reach; BT developing G.fast technology to provide 1Gb/s services;

Virgin Media introduces a 330Mb/s broadband service;

Hyperoptic expands its FttP network;

Government to invest £1 billion of fibre infrastructure and 5G technologies;

Average download speed approaches 29Mb/s;

Report update includes the regulator’s market data for 2016, telcos’ financial and operating data to Q2 2016, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Virgin Media, BT, KCom, Orange, Cable & Wireless, COLT Telecom, Carphone Warehouse, H3, Vodafone, O2, Everything Everywhere (EE, incorporating T-Mobile and Orange), Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Virgin Media, BT, KCom, Orange, Carphone Warehouse, Sky, Freeview, BBC, Tiscali.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics - 2016 (e)
    • Table Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2015
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2016 (e)
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2016 (e)
    • Table Broadband statistics - 2016 (e)
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2016 (e)
    • Table National telecommunications authority
    • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Table Percentages of mobile and fixed phones in homes - 2000 - 2015
      • Table Consumer take-up of telecom services by type - 2006 - 2015
      • Table Fixed-line calls and access revenue by main operator- 2011 - 2014
      • Table Communications retail revenue by sector - 2003 - 2015
      • Table Fixed telecoms revenue by service - 2008 - 2015
      • Table Household spend on telecoms services - 2005 - 2015
      • Table Communications revenue by sector - 2003 - 2015
      • Table Communications wholesale and retail revenue - 2005 - 2015
      • Table Call volumes, fixed-line and mobile in minutes - 2003 - 2017
      • Table Proportion of calls made, fixed-line and mobile - 2006 - 2017
      • Table Telecom retail revenue by sector: fixed, mobile - 2010 - 2015
      • Table Telecom connections: fixed, mobile, broadband - 2002 - 2015
      • Table Household take-up of telecom services - 2003 - 2016
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
    • REVISED NFR
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITY
      • Office of Communications (Ofcom)
    • TELECOM SECTOR LIBERALISATION
    • INTERCONNECT
    • ACCESS
      • Table BT LLU, shared wholesale lines - 2004 - 2016
      • Number Portability (NP)
    • CARRIER PRESELECTION (CPS)
      • Table Lines with CPS - 2004 - 2016
    • WHOLESALE LINE RENTAL (WLR)
      • Table WLR lines - 2004 - 2016
  • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS
    • OVERVIEW AND STATISTICS
      • Table Fixed-voice traffic by type in minutes - 2002 - 2015
      • Table Fixed-voice revenue by call type - 2002 - 2011
      • Table Fixed-voice revenue by call type - 2011 - 2014
      • Table Fixed-voice traffic volume by call type - 2010 - 2015
    • BRITISH TELECOM
      • Table BT share of residential call types by traffic volumes - 2002 - 2014
      • Table BT Consumer lines and TV subscribers - 2011 - 2016
      • Table BT financial data - 2006 - 2017
      • Table BT revenue by retail, Consumer, Business divisions - 2007 - 2017
      • Table BT revenue by Global Services, Wholesale and Openreach divisions - 2007 - 2017
    • BT'S FUNCTIONAL SEPARATION
      • Openreach
      • Company restructure
    • KCOM
      • Table KCom revenue - 1999 - 2016
    • CABLE & WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS (C&WC)
    • VIRGIN MEDIA
      • Table Virgin Media revenue - 2003 - 2016
      • Table Virgin Media revenue by sector - 2006 - 2016
      • Table Virgin Media subscribers by sector - 2007 - 2016
    • COLT TELECOM
      • Table COLT financial data - 2006 - 2015
      • Table COLT financial data by business - 2013 - 2015
    • DIXONS CARPHONE GROUP (CARPHONE WAREHOUSE)
      • Table Carphone Warehouse Europe revenue, profit - 2008 - 2014
    • TALKTALK GROUP
      • Table TalkTalk financial data - 2009 - 2017
      • Table TalkTalk subscribers - 2011 - 2015
    • ORANGE
      • Table Orange broadband subscribers - 2004 - 2012
    • SKY
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • OVERVIEW OF THE NATIONAL TELECOM NETWORK
      • Table Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1999 - 2009
      • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2010 - 2017
    • NEXT GENERATION NETWORKS
      • BT's 21CN
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Submarine cable networks
        • Table Principal submarine cables from the UK
      • Satellite networks
    • CLOUD SERVICES
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • Market analysis
        • Table Fixed-line broadband retail revenue - 2001 - 2017
        • Table Fixed-line broadband connections by type - 2002 - 2015
        • Table Average headline broadband speed - 2006 - 2015
        • Table Proportion of broadband connections by speed - 2010 - 2015
        • Table Average broadband speed by platform - 2010 - 2014
        • Table Devices used for internet access, market share - 2013 - 2016
      • Broadband statistics
        • Table Market share of fixed-line broadband subscribers by provider - 2005 - 2015
        • Table Broadband penetration by technology - 2004 - 2015
        • Table Percentage internet access by dial-up and broadband - 2000 - 2013
        • Table PC, broadband and internet household penetration - 2003 - 2014
        • Table Internet connectivity type, by household - 2003 - 2015
      • Forecasts - broadband subscribers - 2016; 2018; 2021
        • Table Forecast broadband subscribers - 2016; 2018; 2021
      • Government support
        • Table Superfast broadband subscribers and market share - 2010 - 2015
    • HYBRID FIBRE COAX (HFC) NETWORKS
      • Table Virgin Media subscribers by sector - 2007 - 2016
      • Table Virgin Media ARPU - 2007 - 2016
      • Table Virgin Media revenue - 2007 - 2016
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL) NETWORKS
      • Introduction
        • Table xDSL subscribers - 2000 - 2017
      • DSL providers
        • Table BT retail and wholesale broadband subscribers - 2004 - 2016
        • Table BT consumer and wholesale broadband revenue - 2015 - 2017
      • ADSL2+
      • SDSL
      • Very High Data Rate DSL (VDSL)
      • G-fast developments
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) NETWORKS
      • Table FttC availability and projected speeds by distance
      • BT
        • Table BT fibre broadband subscribers - 2014 - 2016
      • Virgin Media/Fujitsu
      • KCom
      • Sky Broadband/TalkTalk
      • Other developments
      • FttC developments
      • Costing fibre
        • Table Estimated cost of fibre by deployment technology
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • Broadband Powerline (BPL)
      • Fixed wireless (Wi-Fi and WiMAX)
        • Table Wireless opportunities using technology and frequencies
  • DIGITAL MEDIA
    • INTRODUCTION
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Ofcom
      • Digital Dividend Review
      • Digital switchover licensing
    • BUNDLED OFFERS
      • Table Proportion of bundled services by type - 2005 - 2016
    • VIDEOSTREAMING (IPTV, VOD)
      • Table Virgin Media bundled services subscribers as proportion to total - 2014 - 2016
      • Table Online TV revenue by service - 2010 - 2015
      • Table Online TV revenue by sector - 2004 - 2012
      • Table VoD penetration (of adults) - 2010 - 2015
      • Virgin Media
      • BBC
      • ITV
      • Other developments
        • Table BT Vision subscribers - 2008 - 2016
    • COMMUNICATIONS: VOIP
    • DIGITAL TV (DTV)
      • Table TV revenue - 2000 - 2015
      • Cable TV
        • Table Virgin Media subscribers by sector - 2007 - 2016
        • Table Virgin Media ARPU - 2007 - 2016
      • Satellite TV
        • Table Satellite TV subscriptions - 2001 - 2016
        • Table Sky revenue, operating profit and EBITDA - 2007 - 2017
      • Digital Terrestrial TV
        • Table Digital broadcasting switchover timetable - 2008 - 2012
    • SOCIAL MEDIA
      • Introduction
        • Table Social media unique audience by operator - 2015 - 2016
  • DIGITAL ECONOMY
    • E-HEALTH INITIATIVES
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Table Call volumes, fixed-line and mobile in minutes - 2003 - 2015
      • Table Mobile retail revenue by service - 2002 - 2015
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • Table Historic - Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate - 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2009
      • Table Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate - 2010 - 2017
      • Table Mobile ARPU by contract, prepaid - 2006 - 2015
      • Table Average household spend of fixed-voice, mobile and internet services - 2008 - 2015
      • Table Prepaid and contract subscribers - 2002 - 2015
      • Operator market shares
        • Table Mobile market share by operator - 2004 - 2016
      • Mobile voice
      • Mobile data
        • Table Mobile data traffic - 2013 - 2015
        • Table OTT messenger service use - April 2016
        • Table SMS messages sent - 2004 - 2017
        • Table Average SMS traffic per month by contract type - 2010 - 2015
        • Table SMS and MMS revenue - 2011 - 2014
      • Mobile broadband
        • Table Dedicated mobile broadband subscribers - 2008 - 2017
        • Table Active mobile broadband subscribers - 2009 - 2017
        • Table Broadband take-up by technology - 2007 - 2015
      • Forecasts - mobile subscribers - 2016; 2018; 2021
        • Table Forecast mobile subscribers - 2016; 2018; 2021
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Spectrum regulations
      • Spectrum refarming
      • Spectrum sharing
      • Spectrum 2.6GHz
        • Table Spectrum available for mobile services
      • Spectrum 800MHz
        • Table Spectrum awards - 800MHz and 2.6GHz - 2013
      • Spectrum 900MHz
      • Spectrum 700MHz
      • Spectrum 1800MHz
      • Spectrum 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz
      • Spectrum 3.8GHz
      • Revised licence conditions
      • Spectrum auctions
        • Table Spectrum auction results 10GHz - February 2008
      • 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 - 2017
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Digital networks
        • Table 3G licence results - April 2000
        • Table LTE subscribers - 2013 - 2017
        • Table Average 3G and 4G speeds (Mb/s) - 2014 - 2015
        • Table O2 LTE subscribers and penetration - 2014 - 2016
        • Table EE LTE subscribers - 2013 - 2015
      • Other infrastructure developments
      • IoT and M2M networks
        • Table M2M connections - 2010 - 2017
        • Table O2 M2M accesses - 2014 - 2016
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Hutchison 3
        • Table 3 UK registered subscribers by sector - 2008 - 2016
        • Table 3 UK financial data - 2008 - 2016
        • Table 3 UK annualised gross ARPU by sector - 2009 - 2016
      • O2
        • Table O2 financial data -2007 - 2016
        • Table O2 ARPU - blended, contract, prepaid and data - 2006 - 2016
        • Table O2 proportion of data to service revenue - 2006 - 2016
        • Table O2 subscribers, prepaid and contract - 2005 - 2016
      • Vodafone
        • Table Vodafone end-year ARPU - blended, contract and prepaid - 2005 - 2016
        • Table Vodafone (UK) subscribers and proportion prepaid - 2001 - 2016
        • Table Vodafone (UK) mobile financial data - 2008 - 2017
        • Table Vodafone customer churn - 2007 - 2016
        • Table Vodafone Group revenue by sector - 2007 - 2017
        • Table Vodafone UK service revenue by sector - 2009 - 2017
        • Table Vodafone mobile customer retention cost - 2007 - 2017
        • Table Vodafone customer smartphone adoption - 2010 - 2016
      • EE
        • Table EE quarterly revenue - 2009 - 2016
        • Table EE financial data - 2011 - 2016
        • Table EE annual revenue - 2013 - 2015
        • Table EE ARPU (Q4) - 2009 - 2016
        • Table EE subscriber data - 2009 - 2016
      • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
        • Table Virgin Mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2016
        • Table Virgin Mobile revenue - 2007 - 2016
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
      • Smartphone market
        • Table O2 smartphones in use and penetration - 2014 - 2016

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