The Communications Market Report: International

More UK consumers use their mobile phones to access the internet

Global communications sector revenues increased by 3.4% in 2010 to £1,132bn - a record high, with the UK communications sector generating £39bn of revenues in 2010 (3rd largest in Europe behind Germany, £49bn, and France, £44bn). 

Ofcom consumer research shows the majority of internet users have visited a social networking website (79% of UK consumers have done this).  The majority of UK internet users with a profile visit it on a daily basis, including 20% who visit a social networking website five times a day or more.

UK consumers are the most likely to access a social networking website via a mobile phone, with 43% accessing their profile page via an app or the web browser on their mobile phone, higher than all other countries covered in the research.

Over 60% of UK consumers have concerns about their personal privacy online and how their personal data are used by social networking websites. Despite this representing the majority of UK consumers, these levels are lower than for other countries covered.

Younger age groups and women with a social networking profile are the most likely to first discover breaking news stories via social networking websites. In the UK, 51% of 18 to 24 year- olds with a social networking profile agreed that they often find out about breaking news stories first via a social networking website; while 43% cent of UK women agreed with this statement (compared to 27% for UK men).

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The UK had the lowest prices for all five baskets of services when looking at the ‘weighted average’ of single-service pricing, and for three of the five baskets when looking at ‘best-offer’ pricing.

UK mobile prices were lower than those in the other five countries covered in the analysis, and UK offering the lowest costs for all nine mobile connections used in the analysis.

The lowest-price standalone broadband services were available in the UK and France, however, in most countries broadband is typically bought in a ‘bundle’.

Mobile broadband prices in the UK were the second lowest after Italy. Prices in the UK, Germany and the US increased between July 2010 and July 2011 due to higher prices for high-use connections

Consumers in all countries could make savings by purchasing multi-service ‘bundles’.

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Global TV revenues increased in 2010, by 7.7% year on year to £239bn, following a recovery in the advertising market and continued growth in subscription income.

The UK and Spain lead the way on digital TV take-up (97% per cent and 98% of homes respectively).

Penetration of High Definition TV increased by a third in the UK, to 21% of television sets in 2010.  However, this remains lower than in France and the US, where take-up reached the majority of homes for the first time (60 and 54% respectively).

Over a quarter (27%) of UK internet users claim to access TV content over the web every week – the highest claimed usage among the countries surveyed.

Newer technologies are beginning to gather momentum, with 13% of consumers in France claiming to have a connected TV, compared to 9% in Australia and 7% in the UK and US.

TV viewing was most popular among people in the US, who each watched an average of 283 minutes per day, compared to 242 minutes in the UK.

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Global radio revenue was up by 5% year on year, reaching £29bn in 2010, following a 9% fall between 2008 and 2009.

Radio listening remains popular, with three quarters of consumers in France and Italy (75% and 74% respectively) listening to the radio on a weekly basis, compared to 67% in the UK.

Using the internet to download or listen to audio content was most popular in Italy, with nearly half (46%) of respondents using their home internet connection for this purpose.  The equivalent figure for the UK was 38%, in line with the average response rate among the countries surveyed.

Almost a quarter (24%) of consumers in the UK used their mobile phones to listen to MP3 tracks in 2010, compared to just short of a third for Germany and Italy (30% and 29% respectively).

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The UK is leading in smartphone, e-commerce and internet advertising markets among European comparator countries.

Smartphone take-up is highest in the UK (46% of all mobile users among the big five European economies, while nearly half (46%) of UK internet users also accessed internet services on their mobile phone in October 2011. 

The value of B2C e-commerce in 2010 was almost £1000 per person in the UK. Four in five (79%) of UK internet users claimed to have purchased online, higher than in any other country in Europe.

In 2010, the UK continued to have the greatest internet share of total advertising spend (29%), and had a spend per head on internet advertising of £65.53. While, the UK’s mobile internet ad spend per head (£1.33) is greater than in the US (£1.25), Japan dwarfs both its nearest rivals, spending £6.52 per person on mobile internet advertising.
In contrast to these growing trends, average time spent online on computers declined in most countries between 2010 and 2011. However, new internet-connected devices such as tablet computers and internet-connected TVs are gaining a foothold in the UK and our surveyed countries.

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Telecoms revenues increase while superfast broadband networks roll out

Total retail telecoms revenue across our comparator countries rose 1.9% from 2009 to 2010, following a fall of 0.4% the previous year.

UK consumers spent an average of £434 on telecoms services in 2010.

Take-up of superfast broadband in Europe is generally lower than in Japan and the US, but availability in the UK compares favourably to other European countries.

Growing smartphone and mobile broadband usage meant that UK mobile data volumes rose 124% in 2010, though this compared with a global growth rate of 159%.

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