UK telecoms users getting more for less

James Middleton

August 14, 2008

2 Min Read
UK telecoms users getting more for less

UK residents are spending more time using communications services than ever before but paying less for them, according to research released by industry watchdog Ofcom on Thursday.

The regulator’s research into the UK’s £51bn communications industry, revealed that UK users spent an average of 7 hours and 9 minutes a day hooked up to a variety of communications services (TV, fixed and mobile phones, radio and internet), an increase of 6 minutes per day from 2002.

Unsurprisingly, mobile and internet use has increased by the greatest amount, with mobile phone usage doubling from 5 minutes to 10 minutes per day since 2002, while PC usage has rocketed from an average of 6 minutes to 24 minutes per person per day.

Though it may not feel like it, when it comes to paying for communications services, Ofcom reckons that consumers get more for their pound. The overall average household spend on communications services for 2007 was £93.63 a month, down £1.53 on the average spend in 2006 and down £4.31 since 2004.

This drop is largely down to the availability of bundled services, such as landline, broadband and TV, from the same provider, which as of March this year is the method of choice for 32 per cent of the population, compared to 18 per cent in 2006.

One telltale sign that mobile providers are offering better value for money is that the number of people using VoIP services fell from 20 per cent in 2006 to 14 per cent in the first quarter of 2008.

Broadband prices have also dropped, but not by much, with average monthly spend falling from £9.87 in 2006 to £9.45 in 2007. Meanwhile awareness of number portability and bargain hunting saw 27 per cent of UK users switch internet provider at least once by March 2008, while 37 per cent switched landline provider and 41 per cent had changed mobile provider.

While fixed line broadband subscriptions have grown 6 per cent in the last 12 months to reach 58 per cent of households, mobile broadband is also seeing a surge in take up, with around 2 million adults in the UK saying that they had used a data card, USB modem or dongle to access the internet by March 2008. Between February and June 2008, the number of USB dongle sales to consumers nearly doubled from 69,000 to 133,000 a month.

More than one in ten mobile users have also accessed the internet on their mobile phone with the number of 3G mobile connections growing by 60 per cent in 2007 to reach 12.5 million.

As for TV, UK viewers are still glued to the box for the same length of time – 218 minutes per day – but are increasingly using services like BBC iPlayer, YouTube as well as DVRs to control their programme viewing and skip advertisements.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of | Follow him @telecomsjames

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