The UK’s 3G and mobile data market is one of the largest in Europe, supported by a large population and a mature mobile infrastructure. Competition among network operators has induced them to provide similar pricing and usage models. This has substantially increased consumer use of mobile data.
Mobile data is still dominated by SMS though developments in smartphone platforms, mobile applications and mobile broadband services have pushed high-end data services. By the end of 2011 most mobile subscribers accessed the internet via mobile phones, while 3G use has become mainstream, accounting for about 75% of all mobile subscribers. Indeed by the end of 2011 two-thirds of new mobile units bought were smartphones, and smartphone penetration reached at least 50%: Everything Everywhere reported that 65% of its subscriber base used smartphones.
Smartphone penetration will go hand in glove with m-commerce developments. The first experiment, between T-Mobile, Orange, and Vodafone, failed in 2005 due to differences between the operators. The latest attempt to develop a common m-commerce platform, a joint venture (JV) initiated in mid-2011 by Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere, centres on mobile SIM-based wallets based on NFC technology: advertisers, marketers, banks and retailers are able to join, engaging with consumers by the use of tags which provide additional information and services. Up to 40,000 NFC tags are expected to be available across the MNOs’ networked areas by the end of 2011.
However, research by YouGov suggests that the public is woefully unaware of m-payment technologies, products and solutions offered: some 70% of canvassed consumers in early 2011 had not heard of mobile wallets, 91% were unfamiliar with the term NFC, and more than a third were unaware if their mobile phones enabled to make m-payments. Depressingly for the JV, about 70% of consumers with contactless payment technology on their credit or debit cards never used the service.
This updated United Kingdom – Mobile Data Market Insights – 3G, 4G and Forecasts report surveys the UK’s mobile data market in 2011, providing an overview of 3G developments, regulatory issues and technologies. It also profiles the major operators, presents statistics on non-voice services, and analyses developments in mobile TV and mobile application stores.
Ofcom claims 4G spectrum efficiency gains of up to 200% on 3G; 800MHz and 2.6GHz auction delayed until 2012; Big Three m-commerce initiative; UK Broadband LTE developments in 3.5GHz band; smartphone penetration reaches 50%, sector accounts for two-thirds of all mobile unit sales; Everything Everywhere and BT Wholesale trial LTE in the 800MHz band; 3UK reports 97% of all network traffic is data; Everything Everywhere launched M2M platform; MBNL signs £100 million network deal with Virgin Media Business to augment mobile broadband capacity; NFC launches show great promise for mobile payments; potential LTE interference with DTTV in 800MHz band; regulator’s 2010 market data and Q1 2011 update; operator data to September 2011.
Companies covered in this report include:
H3, O2, Vodafone, Everything Everywhere, Virgin Mobile, UK Broadband.
Senior Analyst, Europe
For more information on the UK’s telecom market, see the updated reports:
United Kingdom – Key Statistics, Telecom Market and Regulatory Overviews;
United Kingdom – Digital Economy and Digital TV – Insights, Statistics and Analysis;
United Kingdom – Broadband – Fixed Network Insights, Statistics and Forecasts;
United Kingdom – Mobile Market Insights, Statistics and Forecasts;
United Kingdom – Mobile Data Market Insights – 3G, 4G and Forecasts.
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