Country brief: United Kingdom (UK)
EU member? Yes
OECD member? Yes
Regulatory authority:OFCOM (link)
Number of operators:4
Of which mobile-centric:2
Population:65,341,183
Mobile data penetration: 90.3%
Spectrum assigned: 582.2 MHz
700 MHz band assigned?
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Data volume 2015: 873,000 TB
Data volume per pop 2015: 1.11 GB/month/capita (top: Finland, 9.53)
Spectrum usage 2015: 22.9 MB/year/MHz/pop (top: Finland, 213.1)
Group
Operator
Mobile-centric?
Zero-rating video?
Zero-rating any app?
SIMs
GB for €30
(smartphones)
GB for €25
MBB
(data-only)
Total low and high frequency spectrum MHz
Data volume 2015 TB
Data volume 2Q2016 TB
MB/year/MHz per pop 2015
MB/year/MHz per pop 2Q 2016
BritishTelecomEE-UK
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This information is available in the DFMonitor-PRO Spreadsheet.
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This information is available in the DFMonitor-PRO Spreadsheet.
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30,268,00015.00
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275.00
TelefonicaO2-UK
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This information is available in the DFMonitor-PRO Spreadsheet.
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25,172,5008.00
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86.40151,53655,72026.8439.48
VodafoneVodafone-UK
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17,974,00020.00
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161.00117,63543,29811.1816.46
Hutchison3-UK
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9,157,00030.00
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59.80392,850148,343 100.54151.86
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Source: DFMonitor-PRO Spreadsheet, 2H2016. The spreadsheet includes 1,775 4G LTE smartphone (with at least 1,000 minutes and SMSs) and data-only tariffs. Tariffs may have tethering or mobility restrictions. The DFMonitor-PRO Spreadsheet allows the analysis of any gigabyte or price baskets. It includes median fully allocated and weighted average incremental gigabyte prices per country and per operator as well all zero-rated or differential priced applications per country and per operator. The spreadsheet includes historic annually reported mobile data volume per country dating back to 2007 (where available) and quarterly reported mobile data volume per operator dating back to 1Q2013 (where available). The spreadsheet includes the total amount of assigned spectrum per country and per 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz band and historic spectrum usage figures starting from 2H2016. It includes the spectrum holdings per operator and per 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz band and historic usage figures starting from 2H2016.
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Insights, reports and external articles citing DFMonitor about United Kingdom
Four year comparative study of unit prices in 4-MNO and in the 4 to 3 consolidated German & Austrian markets
2017
pricing
merger
Germany
Austria
Italy
Denmark
United Kingdom
France
Poland
Sweden
Netherlands
Hutchison
Telefonica
Iliad
Play
Tele2
Vimpelcom

January 2017
The gap between gigabyte prices in the 4 to 3 consolidated Austrian & German markets and prices in 4-MNO markets where no consolidation has taken place had substantially increased by September 2016

The Commission proposed wholesale data roaming cap of €8.5/GB is anomalous and will distort competition in North-Eastern mobile markets where retail gigabyte prices are competitive
2016
roaming
networkeconomics
Finland
Poland
Denmark
France
United Kingdom
Italy
Germany
Spain

October 2016
UPDATED with DG Competition's response to Rewheel's concerns. How low should the wholesale data roaming cap be in 2017 to avoid the distortion of competition in North-Eastern domestic mobile markets where retail gigabyte prices are competitive?

O2 nearly triples GB volume allowances (for the same price) after the Commission blocked the 4 to 3 merger in the UK
2016
United Kingdom
Telefonica
O2
Hutchsion

July 2016
Before the blocked merger £25 bought O2 customers 8 gigabytes. Now O2 customers get three times more gigabytes i.e. 25GB by spending £25

Mobile Price Wars: No Sign of Peace in Europe
2016
United States
Iliad
France
Verizon
ATT
DeutscheTelekom
Softbank
Hutchison
Italy
United Kingdom
Telefonica
Vodafone

[External article, The Wall Street Journal]
June 2016
The gap between European and U.S. mobile pricing seems likely to remain wide.

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Probably Telefonica and Hutchison
2016
United Kingdom
Hutchison
Iliad
Telefonica
merger

[External article, Telecom TV]
February 2016
"Here’s the deal. I think that Hutchison (owners of 3) will be willing to complete the merger with O2 even if it meant a new fourth operator had to be established in the market. But that would depend on who the operator was."

Hutchison defies Vestager and increases prices, ahead of its planned acquisition of o2 in the UK, for the fourth time
2016
United Kingdom
Three
Hucthison
Telefonica

January 2016
Hutchison appears to be confident that price increases will not deter the European Commission from approving the 4 to 3 merger

Telecoms antitrust decision sends chills from UK to Italy
2015
Denmark
United Kingdom
Italy
merger

[External article, POLITICO Europe]
September 2015
“Neither Almunia’s [wholesale access] remedy in German and Ireland nor the exotic joint venture proposed remedies by Telenor and TeliaSonera in Denmark can remove the competitions concerns entirely in a four-to-three mobile consolidation,” said Antonios Drossos, managing partner at Rewheel, a telecoms consultancy.

The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – Hutchison Three UK doubled the price of its flagship smartphone plan
2015
Hutchison
Telefonica
United Kingdom
merger

August 2015
Ahead of its planned merger with Telefonica O2 in the UK Hutchison Three has more than doubled (+113%) the price of its flagship 4G LTE smartphone plan.

UK and French 4-network-operator competitive mobile markets versus the consolidated German protected oligopoly – 2Q 2015
2015
United Kingdom
France
Germany
Iliad
Hutchison
DeutscheTelekom
Vodafone
Telefonica
EverythingEveywhere
SFR
BouyguesTelecom
Orange

June 2015
Triggered by the planned mergers in the UK, Commissioner Vestager’s assertion that “In fact, infrastructure investment can be stimulated by competition” and by the court challenge filed by Airdata AG against the Commission’s unlawful approval of Telefonica E-Plus German merger we take a closer look at effective competition and in particular 4G LTE mobile internet access (smartphone plan) prices and hotspot/tethering restrictions in the consolidated German protected oligopoly, UK and France.

EU’s Margrethe Vestager hits out against telecoms consolidation
2015
Austria
Hutchison
Germany
Ireland
Telefonica
United Kingdom
Italy
TeliaSonera
Telenor
Denmark
merger

[External article, The Financial Times, subscription required]
June 2015
Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner, has thrown down a marker of her intent to curtail consolidation in Europe’s telecoms industry by dismissing suggestions that a wave of big mergers is needed to boost investment. Research from Rewheel, a consultancy, suggests that prices rise sharply following merger approvals, citing the tie-up between Hutchison and Orange in Austria. However, telecoms executives retort that price rises tend to be matched by an increase in data capacity or improved services.

Europe’s great data divide - Not all countries are created equal when it comes to mobile data usage in the European Union.
2015
Germany
Hungary
Finland
France
United Kingdom
Poland
pricing

[External article, POLITICO Europe]
May 2015
POLITICO.eu reporting on the launch and key findings of the 3rd DFMonitor release.

The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – Hutchison Three UK increases prices, again!
2015
United Kingdom
Hutchison
Telefonica
merger

April 2015
Three UK has now more than doubled the price of its flagship SIM-only smartphone plan. Hutchison appears confident that price increases will not deter the European Commission from approving its planned acquisition of o2 in the UK with an ineffective upfront ‘throughput≠capacity’ based MVNO remedy.


New European competition commissioner, new approach to telecoms consolidation?
2015
Germany
Austria
Italy
United Kingdom
Hutchison
Telefonica
KPN
Vimpelcom
WindItaly

[External article, Telecom TV]
March 2015
As competition commissioner, Vestager says that her job is to ensure that European citizens or businesses can enjoy relatively innovative markets at affordable prices.

Spectrum use in Finland and the UK versus Germany
2014
Finland
United Kingdom
Germany
spectrum
networkeconomics

March 2014
According to data reported by the national regulatory authorities and presented in the first release (1H2014) of the DFMonitor the average monthly mobile data consumption per capita varies greatly across EU28. In 2012 the Finnish consumed on average 1.49 Gigabyte every month while the British 0.38 Gigabyte. The Germans on the other hand consumed a dismal 0.15 Gigabyte every month. Why do consumers in competitive markets (where a challenger operator is present) consume up to 10 times more mobile data than consumers in protected markets such as Germany? Are Germans less eager users of the internet?

Competitive mobile markets bolster take up, says study
2014
release
pricing
Iliad
United Kingdom
Finland
Austria
Germany
Ireland
United States
Vodafone
Orange
Telefonica
DeutscheTelekom
Iliad
Tele2
Hutchison

[External article, The Financial Times, subscription required]
March 2014
Rewheel is launching a tracker of prices, performance, spectrum use, consumption and adoption across Europe, which includes 1,404 smartphone and data-only tariff plans offered in 43 countries from 145 operators.

Competition in France & UK versus Germany
2013
France
United Kingdom
Germany
Iliad
BouyguesTelecom
Orange
SFR
KPN
Telefonica
Vodafone
DeutscheTelekom

December 2013
Inefficient operators that cannot make a healthy return on €20 mass market 10 GByte all-you-can-eat minute & SMS smartphone tariffs will soon become telco road kills in Europe’s competitive markets.

Lack of competition inflates EU smartphone costs
2013
Iliad
Tele2
Hutchison
Vodafone
DeutscheTelekom
Orange
Telefonica
Greece
United States
Spain
Germany
Finland
Denmark
United Kingdom
release

[External article, The Financial Times, subscription required]
January 2013
Mobile users pay up to 10 times more to use smartphones in EU countries that lack an independent “challenger” telecoms group outside the large, dominant pan-European operators, according to Rewheel's research.


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