Publications

Format: Jun 2018
sort descending Sector(s) Date
UK Internet Trends Q3 2002

This note shows the mixed evidence on household penetration. Most surveys report a distinct plateau in subscribing household numbers in the UK, particularly compared to France and Germany, where numbers are still growing. Other surveys show a continuing rise in individual users. On balance, we think the data does point to a clear deceleration in the growth in subscribing households. Current penetration is just over 10m homes, or 40% of the UK total.

Media 4 November 2002
UK internet: mobile inflection point

Strong growth in UK sales of mobile devices in 2013, with tablet shipments overtaking declining PC sales, pushed smartphone and tablet penetration up to about 63% and 35% respectively, in line with our forecasts.

We estimate that mobile devices now account for 50% of time spent online in the UK, the lion’s share via apps, reaching this milestone sooner than expected. Mobile internet usage looks set for further growth in 2014 and beyond, with PC-based consumption flattening.

After a slow start mobile monetisation is also rising fast, with UK advertising and e-commerce to mobile devices accelerating and closing the gap with that on the PC. We expect much, if not all, future growth in commercial internet revenues to be driven by mobile devices.

Mobile, Telecoms, Internet, Media 14 March 2014
UK ISPs

The UK online market is among the most mature in Europe: while strong growth continued during 2000 (60% increase in home users), this was less dramatic than in Germany and France.

Fixed Line 5 April 2001
UK local media: a holy grail?

This report explores and quantifies expenditure in the local media landscape. Flat disposable income and the rise in e-commerce continue to force many retailers from the high street, though we argue first-rate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have the opportunity to grow share of the local market, despite these pressures

Technology has radically disrupted the way local businesses reach out to consumers. Not only has advertising expenditure moved online, but SME spend is dissipating into other activities, including distribution and platform developments, PR, social and sponsorship activities and live events

The rise of smartphones has created the tantalising prospect of a perfect local media solution. We assess the level of opportunity for Google, Facebook, Hibu, local newspapers, local radio, local TV and hyperlocal organisations

  • Yell
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • DMGT
Internet, Media 3 December 2012
UK mobile advertising begins to take off

UK mobile advertising jumped 157% year-on-year to £203 million in 2011, marginally higher than our forecast of £180 million, with strong growth in both search and display

Mobile advertising now accounts for 6% of internet search and display spend, but still lags mobile devices’ share of internet consumption, which has been rising strongly due to rapid smartphone and tablet adoption, and we estimate is now at around 15%

We expect much of the lag between mobile’s share of internet consumption and ad spend to disappear over the next five years, indicating continued high growth

  • Google
  • Apple
Mobile, Telecoms, Internet, Media 23 March 2012
UK Mobile Call Charge Trends

The profitability of the UK 2G mobile networks depends on the continued avoidance of a price war. Are there any signs yet of retail price erosion? This report suggests that mobile prices have in fact risen in the last two years, despite the entry of ‘3’, the growth of Virgin Mobile and the regulatory pressure on termination charges.

 

 

 

Telecoms, Mobile 20 September 2004
UK Mobile Consumer Trends

In the attached report we are publishing the 2006 edition of our regular review of UK mobile user trends, based on a survey of 1,000 adults. We look at handset ownership, replacement trends, handset manufacturer choice, network operator choice, camera phone ownership and usage, 3G handset ownership and usage and, finally, interest in Mobile TV.

We cannot see how Phones4U can fulfil the volume requirements without significant damage to its business and competitiveness, and Vodafone may also suffer from a vengeful CPW encouraging its subscribers to churn away. Vodafone appears to not understand that it is its competitors that are driving up subsidies rather than its business partners, and is instead trying to shoot the messenger

CPW has less to lose from the weakest two operators leaving than one might think, and the continued lack of differentiation from the operators means that its core business model is still very much secure

Telecoms 27 July 2006
UK Mobile Consumer Trends

The UK mobile market can give the unwary observer the impression of strong subscriber growth, dangerously high levels of competition for the incumbents, and high levels of consumer enthusiasm for both advanced handsets and advanced mobile data services. These impressions are however all incorrect or misleading, as our recent UK mobile user survey helps to show.

Media 12 May 2005
UK mobile market Q1 2013: 4G progresses but does not transform

Overall UK mobile revenue growth slipped slightly in Q1, dropping 0.4ppts to -4.3%, although, taking into account the leap year effect, underlying growth likely improved a touch, marking the second quarter of growth being at least stable

EE announced 4G subscriber figures for the first time, reporting 318k subscribers at the end of the quarter, a very respectable figure given coverage, handset and price tier limitations. We expect this figure to grow strongly as coverage rolls out and 4G handset availability spreads, but the 4G revenue premium is still unlikely to be significant in 2013

The outlook for revenue growth in the rest of 2013 is fairly positive – the MTR impact will partly drop out from Q2 onwards, boosting reported revenue by over 2ppts, some mid-contract price increases will take effect, and pricing (so far) has remained reasonably stable

  • Vodafone
  • T-Mobile
  • Orange
  • O2
  • Hutchison 3G
  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 2 June 2013
UK mobile market Q1 2014: Heading for positivity

UK mobile service revenue growth remained relatively healthy at -1.6% in Q1 2014, despite the absence of some favourable one-off factors in the previous quarter, consolidating the improvements seen in 2013. Underlying growth improved a touch to 0.3%, and given that the regulatory impact will drop out next quarter, reported revenue growth may well turn positive in Q2

Service revenue growth among the ‘big three’ has re-converged to around -3% to -4%, with Vodafone improving due to strong recent subscriber gains, and EE worsening slightly after a strong previous quarter. H3G’s growth worsened due to the previous quarter including some one-off benefits, but it remains very strong at 10%, with contract ARPU having stabilised

We expect the market environment to continue to be relatively benign, with the biggest disruptive threats Vodafone, which is currently competing on quality but may become more aggressive on price if it loses patience, and the fixed line operator MVNOs, who have significant distribution disadvantages but nonetheless can harm the market with discounted pricing

  • Vodafone
  • O2
  • Hutchison 3G
  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 24 June 2014
UK mobile market Q1 2015: A little growth, less convergence

UK mobile service revenue growth continued to improve, rising to 1.2% in Q1, a modest figure but still the best of the five largest European mobile markets, albeit weaker than the UK consumer fixed line market (4%-5%)

O2 continued to be the strongest grower of the ‘big 3’, and maintained over 40% share of contract net adds. Both Vodafone and EE appear to have suffered from the demise of Phones 4U, having been its biggest (and latterly its only) network operator suppliers. EE is also suffering from the gradual withdrawal of its Orange and T-Mobile brands, which is forcing it to work harder to both attract and retain customers

Vodafone launched a competitively priced consumer fixed broadband offer on 10 June. EE has shown that there is an opportunity for Vodafone to have some limited success cross-selling broadband through its shops, but O2's mobile-only success and EE's struggles in its mobile business suggest that this will not drive improved mobile performance

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Mobile, Telecoms 17 June 2015
UK mobile market Q1 2016: Future uncertain

UK mobile service revenue growth marginally improved in Q1, to 0.5% from 0.3% in the previous quarter, with the market now having been stuck at a modest but positive growth level for two full years. The improvement was driven by contract ARPU growth improvements, across all of the operators, partially mitigated by a drop in contract subscriber volume growth, perhaps influenced by a weak market for new handsets

Looking forward, the competitive outlook is very uncertain; while EE is looking to increase its network lead, whether it wishes to use this to boost share or pricing is unclear, O2’s future owners may have different strategic priorities to the status quo, H3G will likely take innovative approaches, which are tautologically hard to predict, and Vodafone UK remains Vodafone’s only large European market without a scale position in consumer broadband, a situation it is likely to want to rectify in due course

While before the Brexit referendum, we would have concluded that the outlook for market-wide revenue growth was reasonably positive in spite of this, with ever-strong data volume growth contrasting with constrained spectrum supply, the extra economic uncertainty due to the referendum result puts this at least partly in doubt. The mobile market is likely to be relatively insensitive to macroeconomic conditions given its increasingly essential nature, but there is some sensitivity, particularly if population growth slows or reverses. Our base case assumption is a dip in growth of 1-2ppts in 2017 as a consequence of Brexit

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Telecoms 5 July 2016
UK mobile market Q1 2017: EE leads the way

UK mobile service revenue growth continued to improve, with EE now the clear leader in service revenue growth terms. The rate of improvement has started to slow, but pricing remains solid and data traffic continues to grow healthily

EE’s performance was helped by robust subscriber growth but mainly driven by its very strong ARPU growth, which is in turn driven by ‘more-for-more’ pricing and a service/content tiered pricing model. Others are starting to follow this approach

The short/medium term outlook remains healthy, with the price increases made in Q2 likely to more than compensate for roaming cuts in the latter part of the year.  Looking further forward, the launch of 5G could be disruptive due to the introduction of copious extra spectral capacity, and therefore the results of the upcoming auction will be key for the sector post-2020

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Mobile, Telecoms 22 June 2017
UK mobile market Q2 2012: Steady H1, exciting H2 ahead

In this presentation we show our analysis of the UK mobile market performance to Q2 2012 and consider the outlook both in terms of market growth and competitive dynamics

  • Vodafone
  • T-Mobile
  • Orange
  • O2
  • Hutchison 3G
  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 5 September 2012
UK mobile market Q2 2013: 4G on a budget

UK mobile market revenue growth improved in Q2, rising to -3.6% from -5.0% in the previous quarter, but we see this as driven entirely by an easing in the regulated MTR impact, with underlying growth actually dropping. O2’s revenue growth has continued to improve, Vodafone and EE’s revenue growth both improved roughly in line with the market, and H3G’s growth declined but remained much above the other three Both Vodafone and O2 announced plans to launch 4G on 29 August but both also have modest roll-out plans, with only 13 cities due to be covered by the end of the year, leaving both with less than half the coverage of EE, and H3G is not planning to launch until Q4. There is some debate over how much consumers are likely to value 4G, with a number of consumer surveys putting interest at a low level. Our own survey is consistent with this, but reveals that interest among high-end smartphone owners – who tend to spend more on handsets and airtime – is very much higher O2 is now selling all its upper end contract plans under the ‘O2 Refresh’ structure, which splits handset and airtime fees but in such a way as to allow it to make good margins on handset sales, a clever way to take advantage of smartphone popularity as opposed to working against it as many operators do. The other operators may well follow suit

  • Vodafone
  • O2
  • Hutchison 3G
  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 22 August 2013
UK mobile market Q2 2014: Pricing stable, volume surges, growth returns

UK mobile service revenue growth finally returned to positive territory in Q2 2014 after three years of decline, largely driven by the MTR impact dropping out, but also helped by a 0.6ppt improvement in underlying growth

Data volumes accelerated markedly during the quarter, with 4G and improved 3G speeds encouraging more video/media activity, which is far more bandwidth intensive (as well as having less of a substitution effect) than text communications activity. As consumers move to higher data bundles, smartphone usage may actually start to enhance ARPU through tariff upgrades as opposed to damage ARPUs through lower out-of-bundle voice and text usage

The outlook remains positive, with headline pricing stable, contract ARPUs stabilising and the competitive environment relatively benign

  • Vodafone
  • O2
  • Hutchison 3G
  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 8 September 2014
UK mobile market Q2 2016: Revenue growth slows, profitability resilient

UK mobile service revenue growth dipped down in Q2 to -1.7%, with this being driven by some one-off factors, such as MTR and roaming cuts, and some longer terms trends, such as the continued rise in SIM-only

Profitability nonetheless improved at all of the operators, suggesting strong ongoing cost control, and that some of the revenue weakness is caused by factors that do not impact (or even positively impact) the bottom line

Competitive performances were mixed, with EE’s revenue growth improvement contrasting with dips at the other three operators, driven by EE’s strong commercial momentum and it taking the SIM-only and roaming hit earlier than the other operators

  • BT
  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
  • Vodafone
Media, Mobile, Telecoms 5 September 2016
UK mobile market Q2 2017: Brief holiday

Mobile service revenue growth continued to improve on a reported basis, but most of this improvement came from a significant dip in the MTR cut drag. EE remained the leader in terms of service revenue growth, with both the strongest ARPU growth and robust contract net adds

The quarter also benefited from the current round of in-contract price increases, which were more widespread and at a higher level than last year, and from a brief holiday in the impact of roaming cut regulation, the impact of which will strongly reverse in Q3 as ‘free roaming’ impacts the whole quarter at the same time as mobile users take their actual holidays

Recent spectrum announcements have far from clarified the auction outlook, with Ofcom deciding on a more restrictive spectrum cap than its initial views but both H3G and EE appealing its decision. It will likely be some time before all 5G spectrum auction rules are resolved, let alone actually holding the auctions or building the networks

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Mobile, Telecoms, Vodafone 3 October 2017
UK mobile market Q3 2012: Awaiting 4G

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

  • Vodafone
  • T-Mobile
  • Orange
  • O2
  • Hutchison 3G
  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 14 December 2012
UK mobile market Q3 2013: Flattening out

UK mobile market service revenue growth improved on a reported basis in Q3 to -3%, but was unchanged on an underlying basis, still not a bad result after six consecutive quarters of underlying growth declining, albeit in the context of rapidly improving macroeconomic conditions

All four operators now offer 4G services, with O2 and Vodafone launching within the quarter and H3G in December. EE will nonetheless maintain its coverage and speed advantage for 2014, but others (most likely Vodafone) may challenge thereafter. H3G is offering 4G at no extra cost, reflecting its focus on unlimited data and meeting the capacity requirements for this, and O2 has recently cut its 4G tariffs to match those of 3G (but with a high minimum entry point), leaving EE the only operator with an explicit 4G premium

The overall outlook is mixed – we would expect some improvement to revenue growth into 2014 as the MTR impact wears off and the dilutive effect of unlimited tariffs wane, but this may be countered by a lack of mid-contract price increases, and while 4G is likely to benefit all as it drives data volumes and encourages package upgrades, the impact will be gradual

  • Vodafone
  • O2
  • Hutchison 3G
  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 16 December 2013

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