Follow Us on Twitter

Stats and Facts

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Customer Numbers

Mobile telecommunications have been available in the UK since the mid 1980s, they are now ubiquitous: there are now 82.7 million mobile subscriptions in the UK. 

In 2000, just half of UK adults said that they had a mobile phone – that figure now stands at 94%.

In Q1 2013 49% of adults used their mobile phones for internet access, up from 39% a year previously. Mobile telephony is vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness, and in promoting social inclusion.

Growth in the number of SMS sent per person slowed in 2012, an average of 201 were sent per person per month, an increase of one message a month compared to 2011. This is related to increasing smartphone take-up as these devices enable consumers to access email, instant messaging services and social networking sites. 

In 2012, over 40 million subscribers accessed the internet via their mobile phones, an increase of nearly 9 million since 2011. This increase has been driven largely by widespread take-up of smartphones.

Overall satisfaction with mobile phone service at the end Q1 2013 was 94%, having been at 87% in 2000. 

Mobile Network Coverage

At the end of 2012 15% of adults lived in a home that has a mobile phone but no landline. Ofcom research suggests that just under three in ten of 16-24 and 25 to 34 year olds lived in a household that used mobiles as its sole form of telephony in Q1 2013, significantly higher than the 15% average recorded across all adults during the period. Similarly, the proportion of respondents living in mobile-only homes was higher among the DE socio-economic group than among other grades, with a quarter (26%) of DE households being mobile-only.

99.6% of UK premises (homes and offices) had outdoor 2G mobile coverage from at least one operator in May 2013. Levels of coverage are influenced by population densities and by topography. As a result, 99.8% of England’s premises were covered by 2G mobile from at least one operator, with 99.8% in Wales, 99.3% in Scotland and 98.5% in Northern Ireland. The comparable figures for 3G coverage were lower: 99.1% of UK premises; 99.5% in England, 96.6% in Scotland, 97.7% in Wales and 97.4% in Northern Ireland had 3G mobile coverage outside the premise from at least one operator.

Mobile phone take up in the UK was 94%. England, Wales and Scotland have 92% take up, and Northern Ireland 94%. Notably Scotland has caught up on mobile ownership with 92% take up, an increase of seven percentage points.

Use Of Mobile Devices

Outgoing call volumes from landlines and mobiles both decreased in 2012. The volume of calls from fixed lines fell by 7.7% to 103 billion minutes while mobiles declined by 1%.

A key driver of the shift away from mobile voice services is increasing take-up of smartphones as these devices allow consumers to communicate using alternatives to fixed voice calls (such as email, instant messaging and social networking sites) that are either not available, or not sufficiently convenient to use, to make them a mass market propositionon more basic handsets. 

Household take-up of tablet computers has more than doubled over the past year, up from 11% last year to 24% in 2013. Two thirds of users say they use this device on a daily basis and 95% use it at least once a week.

One in ten (9%) of households own more than one tablet and half of owners say they couldn't live without then, up from 34% last year.

A third of tablet users say the device is their main way of connecting to the internet - on a par with the laptop.

Source (unless otherwise indicated): 'The Communications Market 2013', Ofcom 

Communications Market Report 2013








82.7 Million Mobile Subscriptions

Mobile telecommunications are vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. There are now over 82.7 million mobile subscriptions in the UK. IN Q1 2013 49 per cent of UK adults use their mobile phone for internet access. Tablet ownership more than doubled to 24% of UK households. Operators are working with Ofcom to extend the benefits of mobile communications as widely as possible. 99.6% of UK premises (homes and businesses) had outdoor 2G coverage from at least one operator; 3G coverage is lower at 99.1%.

Smartphone ownership doubles

On average people in the UK made 161 minutes of outgoing mobile calls per month in 2012. An average of 201 SMS and MMS were sent per person per month. Both figures represent a shift away from traditional voice and messaging services as customers increasingly use smartphones to email, send instant messages and access social networking sites. Half of all adults (51%) now own a smart phone - a doubling of ownership over the last two years.