Ofcom’s research and data collection programme

Ofcom is an evidence-based regulator, so market research is important to us. Many of our decisions are informed by research evidence, and our market research ensures that we have a thorough, robust and up-to-date understanding of consumers in the UK.

Market research

We work with independent market research agencies to conduct research among consumers of all communications services, and with specialist suppliers in areas such as gathering data on the fixed-line and mobile broadband speeds that consumers actually receive.

Our ongoing tracker surveys

We have a number of regular, recurring tracker surveys that are run once a year or more often, to provide us with time-series data about consumers’ behaviour and attitudes in relation to communications devices and services. The tracker surveys feed in to a wide variety of Ofcom’s publications and projects, and all the data releases can be seen in the statistical release calendar, and in Ofcom’s open data portal. Cross-Platform Media Tracker fieldwork, a biannual survey about watching programmes and films, listening to radio, and the quality of these services, is now currently underway.

We are confirming the following changes to Ofcom’s VSP Tracker, which is a survey that tracks VSP users’ awareness and experiences of safety measures and tools available on the VSPs they use. The changes would come into effect from Wave 5 onwards. These are as follows:

  • We are changing some of the questions in the VSP Tracker and adding new questions to support our evolving policy needs and requirements. This will impact the next wave we are conducting in Q1 2024, and any subsequent waves following this.
  • The frequency of waves we conduct per year will change from biannually to annually from the 2024/25 financial year onwards.

For more information about this change, please read our confirmation of changes (PDF, 175.0 KB).

Research for our regular annual publications

Our annual publications such as the Communications Market Report, the Online Nation report, the Comparing Service Quality report, the Connected Nations report, Media Nations report and our media literacy reports, use data collected from our tracker surveys, as well as data that we collect directly from broadcasters and telecoms operators as part of our regulatory duties, and third-party data that we buy from specialist providers.

Ad-hoc consumer research

We also commission specific pieces of research in response to new topics that arise in the markets we regulate, and in relation to changing or emerging consumer concerns. Recent (2019) examples include our research into online harms and mobile handset charging.

Data collection

Our market intelligence team collects and analyses information from industry; directly, by using our power to make formal requests; and indirectly, by using third-party information sources. It monitors and interprets market developments and industry trends, across the media and telecommunications sectors and other relevant industries, at company, sector, UK and overseas levels. We publish quarterly telecoms data updates and telecoms and pay-TV complaints statistics, and broadband speeds data.

Where can I find Ofcom’s research and data publications?

We publish our research, so that everyone, including industry stakeholders and consumers, can benefit from it. You can search our research publications on our website. We also publish as much as possible of our raw data as open data, in .csv and similar open formats. There’s also a ‘Fast Facts’ page, for quick reference.