Communications Market Report 2015

ofcomThe UK communications market is changing rapidly. In recent years, with the roll-out of new technologies and services, increasing numbers of people have gained access to superfast broadband and 4G mobile network services.
Today, 83% of UK premises are able to receive a superfast broadband service. Almost one in three fixed broadband lines are now ‘superfast’ (providing speeds of 30Mbit/s or higher), compared to 0.2% in 2009.
In the six years to November 2014 average actual fixed broadband speeds increased at an average annual rate of 36% per year, from 3.6Mbit/s in November 2008 to 22.8Mbit/s in November 2014 (although they are still lower in rural areas). Almost eight in ten households (78%) now have a fixed broadband connection.

During the past year we have also seen an increase in the availability and take-up of 4G services. As at May 2015, 89.5% of premises had outdoor coverage from at least one 4G mobile network, an increase of 17.7 percentage points since June 2014. During 2014, total UK 4G mobile subscriber numbers increased from 2.7 million to 23.6 million, taking the proportion of total mobile subscriptions that were 4G to 28% at the end of 2014, compared to
3% at the end of 2013.
Alongside the roll-out of 4G, take-up of smartphones has continued to increase – they are now the most widely-owned internet-enabled device, alongside laptops.
In Q1 2015 smartphones were present in two-thirds of households (66%), on a par with laptops (65%). For the first time, the smartphone has overtaken the laptop as the device internet users say is the most important for connecting to the internet. Thirty-three per cent of internet users say their smartphone is the most important device for getting online, compared to 30% who cite their laptop. This marks a clear shift since 2014, when 23% cited their phone and 40% preferred their laptop.

Overall, smartphone users now spend nearly two hours (114 minutes) using the internet on their mobile phone, nearly twice as much time as the average adult spends going online via a PC or laptop (69 minutes). Our research shows that smartphones are used for a range of non-communication based activities, including watching short video clips (42%), streaming television programmes or films (21%); making purchases online (45%), and online banking (44%).Take-up and use of smartphones is explored in detail in the first chapter of this year’s report (page 67).

Other areas covered in the first chapter include the decline in watching traditional TV (page 40) and developments in non-traditional viewing (catch-up and subscription services) (page 51), changes in the use of social media (page 95), the prevalence of digital music and photograph collections (page 105), shifts in attitudes to and understanding of the online environment over the past decade (page 115), and a summary of the nations’ communications markets (page 126).

The remainder of the report covers television and audio-visual content (page 139), radio and audio content (page 203), telecoms and networks (page 246), internet and online content (page 317), and post (page 372).
In each chapter, we set out in detail an analysis of industry and consumer data.

To make this report and its resources more useful to stakeholders, we are publishing all of the data and charts in a searchable resource.

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