Feeds

UK mobile networks more popular than ever

Even if they are making less money...

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

The UK's mobile sector has never carried more traffic, but revenue was down last year for the first time ever as users demanded and got more service for less money.

Ofcom's Communications Market Report (lengthy pdf) says many things about the industry, not least that it's the first time the UK's mobile operators have seen turnover go into reverse. The mobile industry was still worth £14.9bn in 2009, but that's three and a half per cent less than the year before as voice and messaging revenue has fallen massively, and while people are spending more on mobile data it's not making up the difference.

Not that people aren't talking - mobile voice traffic is up more than six per cent, and messaging up by a quarter, but users are paying less for those services. Revenue from data has risen by 70 per cent since 2007, but that's unsurprising since the quantity of traffic jumped by 240 per cent between 2008 and 2009.

Ofcom chart

Including fixed-line data, Ofcom reckons that every year since 2005 the number of bits has risen every year by 70 per cent, while the revenue extracted from those using the bits has only gone up by one per cent annually. It's true that the cost of delivering those bits doesn't go up in a linear fashion, but the disparity is worrying for both fixed and wireless companies.

Users do still prefer using fixed lines when they can, with the consensus being that fixed connections are both cheaper and faster. The latter may be true, but in its report Ofcom points out that mobile broadband is now priced very competitively with fixed connections, and suggests that it's data capping that worries people. Few users hit the caps imposed by mobile operators, but the fear of doing so and incurring additional charges pushes users towards a fixed alternative.

12 per cent of UK adults are using mobile broadband, though most of them in addition to a fixed connection at home. Those in rented accommodation tend to opt for a wireless link, which makes sense.

But competing with ADSL isn't going to make money for the network operators, and it seems neither is providing mobile internet for a fixed fee. If network operators are going to fund 4G deployments, and pay suitably outrageous amounts at the UK's forthcoming mega-auction of radio spectrum then they're going to have to find a better way of squeezing more money from us. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.