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 in mid-2010 – 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 such as the BlackBerry, as well as smartphones on a 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 at least as the MNOs prepare their business plans to accommodate spectrum auctions in later 2011. This report surveys the UK’s mobile market to 2010, providing an overview of mobile statistics, regulatory issues and technologies. Regularly updated statistics as well as further commentary and analysis on new market developments and forecasts are available from the United Kingdom - Mobile Market - Statistics and Forecasts report.
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