2018 United Kingdom - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 6 Dec 2018 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 227

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in the UK’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the fixed-line, mobile and broadband sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure developments;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Mobile subscribers and ARPU;
  • Broadband market forecasts;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE, 5G).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- December 2018 (17th Edition)

Executive Summary

UK aiming to be fully-fibred by 2033

The UK’s telecom market remains one of the largest in Europe, characterised by fierce competition which has resulted in reduced pricing for end-users. Following some market consolidation in the mobile segment there are four key players and a number of MVNOs. Mobile broadband in coming years will place some additional pressure on the fixed-line broadband subscriber base as customers are tempted to migrate to 5G-enabled services. The fixed-line broadband sector is characterised by the steady decline in DSL and the ongoing efforts among a good number of operators to expand the reach of fibre networks. This is being supported by government efforts to encourage the right economic environment facilitating the ambition to have a fully-fibred UK by 2033. British Telecom is aiming to provide ultra-fast broadband services to some ten million premises by 2020, while Vodafone is also partnering with CityFibre to deliver an extensive 1Gb/s service to about five million premises by 2025.

The fixed-line voice segment is being similarly repositioned, with PSTN services making way for IP-delivered content. BT’s independent wholesale unit Openreach plans to complete the switch to fibre by 2025.

The mobile 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 analyses 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 including the status of interconnection, local loop unbundling, and carrier preselection. This report also surveys the mobile market, providing an overview of mobile statistics, regulatory issues and technologies. It covers the major operators and MVNOs and looks ahead to mobile market developments in coming years. In addition the report assesses the overall UK broadband market, covering broadband technologies and including the latest statistics, an update on recent commercial initiatives, an assessment of Next Generation Access, and subscriber forecasts.

Key Developments

  • BT transfers 31,000 employees to Openreach Ltd;
  • BT and Huawei trial 3Tb/s channel over existing fibre;
  • Arctic cables to connect UK to Japan;
  • Government to invest £1 billion of fibre infrastructure and 5G technologies, launches £400 million investment aimed at connecting up to two million premises with a 1Gb/s FttP service by 2020;
  • Hyperoptic to deliver FttP to Brent borough;
  • Government publishes its Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review;
  • USO to guarantee minimum 10Mb/s service by 2020;
  • O2 trials Li-Fi technology;
  • Openreach to commercialise Dark Fibre Access product;
  • CityFibre partners with Vodafone to extend fibre;
  • BT developing G.fast technology;
  • Hyperoptic to extend fibre broadband to two million people across 50 cities;
  • BT launches Fibre-on-Demand product, trials 10Gb/s service using XGPON technology;
  • 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 regular's market updates to June 2018, telcos' financial and operating data to Q3 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Virgin Media, BT Group, KCom, Orange, Cable & Wireless, COLT Telecom, Dixons Carphone Group, Sky, O2, H3, Vodafone, O2, Everything Everywhere (BT/EE, incorporating the former T-Mobile UK and Orange UK), Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile.

Henry Lancaster
December 2018

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