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UK mobile market Q3 2012: Awaiting 4G

December 2012

UK mobile service revenue growth nudged down in Q3 2012 by 2.0ppts to -3.8%, with 0.5ppts driven by an increase in the effect of regulated MTR cuts and 1.5ppts caused by underlying factors, largely driven by a weakening UK economy

In October EE launched its new brand and 4G service to great fanfare. The response of the other operators has been very mixed; Vodafone has indicated that it will launch a better 4G network next year, H3G has emphasised the merits of its 3G network, and O2 has not focused on networks at all. We continue to believe that EE’s 4G products will be good for its ARPU but not necessarily raw subscriber numbers, with the rebrand exercise bringing additional synergy benefits to its bottom line

The overall outlook is looking tough for the next six months, with consumer confidence still low and unlimited tariffs hitting pricing, but more promising thereafter, as the 4G premium becomes more material, and the regulated MTR cuts finally start to moderate in Q2 2013

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