2008 Europe - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in United Kingdom and Ireland

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Last updated: 12 Nov 2008 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 203

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

This report covers the UK and Ireland, representing key and influential telecom markets. The report analyses trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media including VoIP, VoD and IPTV developments. Subjects include:

·         Market and industry analyses, trends and developments

·         Facts, figures and statistics;

·         Industry and regulatory issues;

·         Research, Marketing, Benchmarking;

·         Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, Prepaid;

·         VoIP, IPTV, VoD, digital TV and DTTV;

·         Convergent media, mobile broadband.


Researcher: Henry Lancaster

Current publication date: November 2008 (7th Edition)

Next publication date: November 2009


Executive Summary

BuddeComm’s UK and Ireland Annual Publication, ‘2008 Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in the UK and Ireland’, profiles two countries key to Europe’s telecoms landscape. In this report we present an overview of the telecom markets in the UK and Ireland, together with product offerings for both the mobile and broadband sectors. We provide key statistics for operators in all sectors, highlighting market and technological developments and detailing the emergence of media convergence and triple and quad-play. In the report we also cover regulatory developments, and provide an analysis of NGNs and the strategies of the main players in coming years. 

Ireland’s medium sized telecom market made steady gains in 2008 to address its relatively low broadband penetration rate. The incumbent eircom considered implementing Europe’s first voluntary structural separation earlier in the year before abandoning the exercise for want of government cooperation with part-funding its broadband infrastructure upgrade. eircom investment plans during the next two years are uncertain as the company’s owner, Babcock & Brown, has suffered from the 2008 financial downturn.  

The UK, which has one of Europe’s largest and most vibrant telecom markets, retains the largest digital TV market in the European Union. In 2008 digital TV was viewed by almost 90% of UK TV households. DTTV is the most popular TV platform, followed by digital satellite from BSkyB and the BBC’s FreeSat service, launched in March 2008. 

The continuing success of BT’s Openreach has helped develop a highly competitive broadband sector, while mobile network upgrades have for the first time enabled mobile broadband services to be a viable alternative to fixed-line services. In conjunction with BT’s hybrid VDSL/fibre plans and the deployment of a 50Mb/s service to most of Virgin Media’s network during 2009, these developments have stimulated the market for triple play services.  

Key highlights:

·         2009 will see a further maturity on the quad-play market as operators such as Virgin Media, BSkyB, Vodafone and BT develop commercial interests beyond their historical areas of interest. The fast growing Sky Broadband service ended caps on data usage in mid-2008, highlighting the robustness of its infrastructure and placing enormous pressure on competitors to lift their similar restrictions.

·         The Irish government in June 2008 proposed upgrading the national broadband network to achieve universal access by 2010 with data rates matching EU counterparts by 2012. The move would address the country’s slow connection rates which have put a brake on consumer take-up of triple play.

·         The UK’s digital and pay TV markets remain among the most developed in Europe, with a range of services reached by about 90% of the population. The imminent aggregated IPTV service Kangaroo service would provide content from the BBC, ITV and C4.

·         The mobile data market looks set to grow rapidly in 2009 after operators introduced fixed-price plans, so encouraging consumer use of services. Fierce market competition will favour consumers in coming years as network operators battle churn and try to encourage the use of data services over their completed HSPA networks.

·         The UK’s government has shown greater determination to promote fibre in coming years. Two 2008 reports on funding next generation broadband services estimated the cost for national infrastructure to 80% of homes with fibre at between £5 and £29 billion, depending on the deployment chosen. BT’s belated plans to build a VDSL/FttC network covering 40% of households by 2012 may be overtaken by market support of the more expensive but future-proof FttH.

Broadband penetration in Ireland and the UK – 2005 - 2009

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(Source: BuddeComm based on industry sources)


For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on this region, this 190+ page report is essential reading and gives further information on:

·         eircom’s potential structural separation as a consequence of B&B’s financial difficulties, its impact on broadband take-up in Ireland, and the regulatory measures needed to guarantee equality of access for competitors;

·         The UK’s developing triple play market in 2009 as the anticipated Kangaroo service competes with existing vibrant offers;

·         The growing demand for high-bandwidth content and its effect on stimulating both DSL and cable network upgrades;

·         The changing face of converged media with widespread triple play services becoming a standard feature in homes.


Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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