The International Communications Market 2007 (December)
This is Ofcom’s second report on the international communications market. The increasing impact of global issues on the UK commercial and regulatory communications agenda means that it is important to understand how communications markets in the UK compare with those in other countries. This report does not seek to draw policy conclusions, but rather to serve as an evidence base from which to evaluate developments in the sector.
The communications sector now forms an important part of most economies in the developed world. In 2006, the global communications market generated estimated revenues of around £870bn. International organisations are having an increasing influence in regulating communications markets. In Europe, a new regulatory framework recognises the growing significance of cross-border communications issues in areas such as mobile telecoms and spectrum.
This report considers levels of availability and adoption of communications services and how they are used by consumers in seven major countries (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the US, Canada and Japan). Where data are available, we have also included Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Ireland in our analysis. Last year’s report showed the increasing significance of China in the global communications market. This year, we have expanded our research to include three other huge and fast-developing countries: Brazil, Russia and India.
We have increased our focus on convergence in international communications markets, both from the perspective of suppliers and consumers. Our research shows that consumers are experiencing and using communications services in new and different ways. We have also conducted an international price benchmarking exercise - a notoriously difficult exercise - using a methodology which has developed since our report last year. This aims to capture a range of different consumption patterns, the impact of bundles of communications services and the cost of equipment ownership.
We are publishing this report as part of our stated aim to research markets constantly to inform our policy thinking and to fulfil the commitment we made in our 2007/08 Annual Plan. It complements other research published by Ofcom during 2007, and forms part of the Communications Market series - which includes The UK Communications Market (published in August 2007), The Communications Market: Nations and Regions (May 2007), and our regular digital progress reports.
We hope that this document will help to provide a wider context for the UK communications sector and prove a valuable resource for stakeholders, as well as for our own policy making.