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

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in the UK’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media 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;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media;
  • 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:- February 2017 (15th Edition)

Executive Summary

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.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
  • 2. Telecommunications market
    • 2.1 Market analysis
  • 3. Regulatory environment
    • 3.1 Historical overview
    • 3.2 Revised NFR
    • 3.3 Regulatory authority
      • 3.3.1 Office of Communications (Ofcom)
    • 3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 3.5 Interconnect
    • 3.6 Access
      • 3.6.1 Number Portability (NP)
    • 3.7 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
    • 3.8 Wholesale Line Rental (WLR)
  • 4. Fixed network operators
    • 4.1 Overview and statistics
    • 4.2 British Telecom
    • 4.3 BT’s functional separation
      • 4.3.1 Openreach
      • 4.3.2 Company restructure
    • 4.4 KCom
    • 4.5 Cable & Wireless Communications (C&WC)
    • 4.6 Virgin Media
    • 4.7 COLT Telecom
    • 4.8 Dixons Carphone Group (Carphone Warehouse)
    • 4.9 TalkTalk Group
    • 4.10 Orange
    • 4.11 Sky
  • 5. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 5.2 Next Generation Networks
      • 5.2.1 BT’s 21CN
    • 5.3 International infrastructure
      • 5.3.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.3.2 Satellite networks
    • 5.4 Cloud services
  • 6. Broadband market
    • 6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 6.1.1 Market analysis
      • 6.1.2 Broadband statistics
      • 6.1.3 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
      • 6.1.4 Government support
    • 6.2 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
    • 6.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 6.3.1 Introduction
      • 6.3.2 DSL providers
      • 6.3.3 ADSL2+
      • 6.3.4 SDSL
      • 6.3.5 Very High Data Rate DSL (VDSL)
      • 6.3.6 G-fast developments
    • 6.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • 6.4.1 BT
      • 6.4.2 Virgin Media/Fujitsu
      • 6.4.3 KCom
      • 6.4.4 Sky Broadband/TalkTalk
      • 6.4.5 Other developments
      • 6.4.6 FttC developments
      • 6.4.7 Costing fibre
    • 6.5 Other fixed broadband services
      • 6.5.1 Broadband Powerline (BPL)
      • 6.5.2 Fixed wireless (Wi-Fi and WiMAX)
  • 7. Digital media
    • 7.1 Introduction
    • 7.2 Regulatory issues
      • 7.2.1 Ofcom
      • 7.2.2 Digital Dividend Review
      • 7.2.3 Digital switchover licensing
    • 7.3 Bundled offers
    • 7.4 Videostreaming (IPTV, VoD)
      • 7.4.1 Virgin Media
      • 7.4.2 BBC
      • 7.4.3 ITV
      • 7.4.4 Other developments
    • 7.5 Communications: VoIP
    • 7.6 Digital TV (DTV)
      • 7.6.1 Cable TV
      • 7.6.2 Satellite TV
      • 7.6.3 Digital Terrestrial TV
    • 7.7 Social media
      • 7.7.1 Introduction
  • 8. Digital economy
    • 8.1 E-Health initiatives
  • 9. Mobile communications
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
      • 9.2.1 Operator market shares
      • 9.2.2 Mobile voice
      • 9.2.3 Mobile data
      • 9.2.4 Mobile broadband
      • 9.2.5 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
    • 9.3 Regulatory issues
      • 9.3.1 Spectrum regulations
      • 9.3.2 Spectrum refarming
      • 9.3.3 Spectrum sharing
      • 9.3.4 Spectrum 2.6GHz
      • 9.3.5 Spectrum 800MHz
      • 9.3.6 Spectrum 900MHz
      • 9.3.7 Spectrum 700MHz
      • 9.3.8 Spectrum 1800MHz
      • 9.3.9 Spectrum 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz
      • 9.3.10 Spectrum 3.8GHz
      • 9.3.11 Revised licence conditions
      • 9.3.12 Spectrum auctions
      • 9.3.13 Roaming
      • 9.3.14 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 9.3.15 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
    • 9.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.4.1 Digital networks
      • 9.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
      • 9.4.3 IoT and M2M networks
    • 9.5 Major mobile operators
      • 9.5.1 Hutchison 3
      • 9.5.2 O2
      • 9.5.3 Vodafone
      • 9.5.4 EE
      • 9.5.5 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 9.6 Mobile content and applications
    • 9.7 Mobile handsets
      • 9.7.1 Smartphone market
      • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2015
      • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 5 – Broadband statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 6 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 7 – National telecommunications authority
      • Table 8 – Percentages of mobile and fixed phones in homes – 2000 - 2015
      • Table 9 – Consumer take-up of telecom services by type – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 10 – Fixed-line calls and access revenue by main operator– 2011 - 2014
      • Table 11 – Communications retail revenue by sector – 2003 - 2015
      • Table 12 – Fixed telecoms revenue by service – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 13 – Household spend on telecoms services – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 14 – Communications revenue by sector – 2003 - 2015
      • Table 15 – Communications wholesale and retail revenue – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 16 – Call volumes, fixed-line and mobile in minutes – 2003 - 2017
      • Table 17 – Proportion of calls made, fixed-line and mobile – 2006 - 2017
      • Table 18 – Telecom retail revenue by sector: fixed, mobile – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 19 – Telecom connections: fixed, mobile, broadband – 2002 - 2015
      • Table 20 – Household take-up of telecom services – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 21 – BT LLU, shared wholesale lines – 2004 - 2016
      • Table 22 – Lines with CPS – 2004 - 2016
      • Table 23 – WLR lines – 2004 - 2016
      • Table 24 – Fixed-voice traffic by type in minutes – 2002 - 2015
      • Table 25 – Fixed-voice revenue by call type – 2002 - 2011
      • Table 26 – Fixed-voice revenue by call type – 2011 - 2014
      • Table 27 – Fixed-voice traffic volume by call type – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 28 – BT share of residential call types by traffic volumes – 2002 - 2014
      • Table 29 – BT Consumer lines and TV subscribers – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 30 – BT financial data – 2006 - 2017
      • Table 31 – BT revenue by retail, Consumer, Business divisions – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 32 – BT revenue by Global Services, Wholesale and Openreach divisions – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 33 – KCom revenue – 1999 - 2016
      • Table 34 – Virgin Media revenue – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 35 – Virgin Media revenue by sector – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 36 – Virgin Media subscribers by sector – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 37 – COLT financial data – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 38 – COLT financial data by business – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 39 – Carphone Warehouse Europe revenue, profit – 2008 - 2014
      • Table 40 – TalkTalk financial data – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 41 – TalkTalk subscribers – 2011 - 2015
      • Table 42 – Orange broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2012
      • Table 43 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 44 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 45 – Fixed-line broadband retail revenue – 2001 - 2017
      • Table 46 – Fixed-line broadband connections by type – 2002 - 2015
      • Table 47 – Average headline broadband speed – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 48 – Proportion of broadband connections by speed – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 49 – Average broadband speed by platform – 2010 - 2014
      • Table 50 – Devices used for internet access, market share – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 51 – Market share of fixed-line broadband subscribers by provider – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 52 – Broadband penetration by technology – 2004 - 2015
      • Table 53 – Percentage internet access by dial-up and broadband – 2000 - 2013
      • Table 54 – PC, broadband and internet household penetration – 2003 - 2014
      • Table 55 – Internet connectivity type, by household – 2003 - 2015
      • Table 56 – Forecast broadband subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
      • Table 57 – Superfast broadband subscribers and market share – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 58 – Virgin Media subscribers by sector – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 59 – Virgin Media ARPU – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 60 – Virgin Media revenue – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 61 – xDSL subscribers – 2000 - 2017
      • Table 62 – BT retail and wholesale broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2016
      • Table 63 – BT consumer and wholesale broadband revenue – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 64 – FttC availability and projected speeds by distance
      • Table 65 – BT fibre broadband subscribers – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 66 – Estimated cost of fibre by deployment technology
      • Table 67 – Proportion of bundled services by type – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 68 – Virgin Media bundled services subscribers as proportion to total – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 69 – Online TV revenue by service – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 70 – Online TV revenue by sector – 2004 - 2012
      • Table 71 – VoD penetration (of adults) – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 72 – BT Vision subscribers – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 73 – TV revenue – 2000 - 2015
      • Table 74 – Virgin Media subscribers by sector – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 75 – Virgin Media ARPU – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 76 – Satellite TV subscriptions – 2001 - 2016
      • Table 77 – Sky revenue, operating profit and EBITDA – 2007 - 2017
      • Exhibit 9 – Digital broadcasting switchover timetable – 2008 - 2012
      • Table 78 – Social media unique audience by operator – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 79 – Call volumes, fixed-line and mobile in minutes – 2003 - 2015
      • Table 80 – Mobile retail revenue by service – 2002 - 2015
      • Table 81 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate – 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2009
      • Table 82 – Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 83 – Mobile ARPU by contract, prepaid – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 84 – Average household spend of fixed-voice, mobile and internet services – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 85 – Prepaid and contract subscribers – 2002 - 2015
      • Table 86 – Mobile market share by operator – 2004 - 2016
      • Table 87 – Mobile data traffic – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 88 – OTT messenger service use – April 2016
      • Table 89 – SMS messages sent – 2004 - 2017
      • Table 90 – Average SMS traffic per month by contract type – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 91 – SMS and MMS revenue – 2011 - 2014
      • Table 92 – Dedicated mobile broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 93 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 94 – Broadband take-up by technology – 2007 - 2015
      • Table 95 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
      • Table 96 – European roaming charges – 2007 – 2016
      • Table 97 – European data roaming charges – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 98 – MTRs by operator (pence per minute) – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 99 – LTE subscribers – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 100 – Average 3G and 4G speeds (Mb/s) – 2014 - 2015
      • Table 101 – O2 LTE subscribers and penetration – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 102 – EE LTE subscribers – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 103 – M2M connections – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 104 – O2 M2M accesses – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 105 – 3 UK registered subscribers by sector – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 106 – 3 UK financial data – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 107 – 3 UK annualised gross ARPU by sector – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 108 – O2 financial data –2007 - 2016
      • Table 109 – O2 ARPU – blended, contract, prepaid and data – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 110 – O2 proportion of data to service revenue – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 111 – O2 subscribers, prepaid and contract – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 112 – Vodafone end-year ARPU – blended, contract and prepaid – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 113 – Vodafone (UK) subscribers and proportion prepaid – 2001 - 2016
      • Table 114 – Vodafone (UK) mobile financial data – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 115 – Vodafone customer churn – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 116 – Vodafone Group revenue by sector – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 117 – Vodafone UK service revenue by sector – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 118 – Vodafone mobile customer retention cost – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 119 – Vodafone customer smartphone adoption – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 120 – EE quarterly revenue – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 121 – EE financial data – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 122 – EE annual revenue – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 123 – EE ARPU (Q4) – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 124 – EE subscriber data – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 125 – Virgin Mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 126 – Virgin Mobile revenue – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 127 – O2 smartphones in use and penetration – 2014 - 2016
      • Chart 1 – Communications retail revenue by sector – 2003 - 2015
      • Chart 2 – Communications revenue by sector – 2003 - 2015
      • Chart 3 – Communications wholesale and retail revenue – 2005 - 2015
      • Chart 4 – Call volumes, fixed-line and mobile in minutes – 2003 - 2017
      • Chart 5 – Telecom connections: fixed, mobile, broadband – 2002 – 2015
      • Chart 6 – BT LLU, shared wholesale lines – 2004 – 2016
      • Chart 7 – BT financial data – 2006 - 2017
      • Chart 8 – BT revenue by operating division – 2007 - 2017
      • Chart 9 – Virgin Media revenue by sector – 2006 - 2016
      • Chart 10 – Virgin Media subscribers by sector – 2007 - 2016
      • Chart 11 – Fixed-line broadband connections by type – 2002 – 2015
      • Chart 12 – Broadband penetration by technology – 2004 – 2015
      • Chart 13 – Virgin Media subscribers by sector – 2007 - 2016
      • Chart 14 – BT retail and wholesale broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2016
      • Chart 15 – Virgin Media subscribers by sector – 2007 – 2016
      • Chart 16 – Sky revenue, operating profit and EBITDA – 2007 - 2017
      • Chart 17 – Call volumes, fixed-line and mobile in minutes – 2003 - 2015
      • Chart 18 – Mobile subscribers and SIM penetration rate – 2003 - 2017
      • Chart 19 – Prepaid and contract subscribers – 2002 - 2015
      • Chart 20 – 3 UK subscribers by sector – 2008 - 2016
      • Chart 21 – 3 UK ARPU by sector – 2009 – 2016
      • Chart 22 – O2 financial data –2007 - 2016
      • Chart 23 – O2 annualised ARPU – blended, contract, prepaid and data – 2006 - 2016
      • Chart 24 – O2 subscribers, prepaid and contract – 2005 - 2016
      • Chart 25 – Vodafone ARPU – blended, contract and prepaid – 2005 - 2016
      • Chart 26 – Vodafone (UK) subscribers and proportion prepaid – 2001 - 2016
      • Chart 27 – Vodafone (UK) financial data – 2008 - 2017
      • Chart 28 – EE quarterly revenue – 2009 - 2016
      • Chart 29 – EE ARPU – 2009 - 2016
      • Chart 30 – EE subscriber data – 2009 - 2016
      • Exhibit 1 – EU – The New Regulatory Framework (NRF)
      • Exhibit 2 – Principal submarine cables from the UK
      • Exhibit 3 – Wireless opportunities using technology and frequencies
      • Exhibit 4 – WLAN operator business models
      • Exhibit 5 – Operators’ service bundling offers – 2016
      • Exhibit 6 – Technology developments in bundled services
      • Exhibit 7 – Popular VoIP providers
      • Exhibit 8 – Snapshot of digital TV services and providers
      • Exhibit 10 – Spectrum available for mobile services
      • Exhibit 11 – Spectrum awards – 800MHz and 2.6GHz – 2013
      • Exhibit 12 – Spectrum auction results 10GHz – February 2008
      • Exhibit 13 – 3G licence results – April 2000
      • Exhibit 14 – 3G licensee and infrastructure suppliers

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As you know, I have resigned from the Labor Ministry and have decided not to re-contest the seat of Charlton at the next election – both for personal reasons.

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