Telecommunications Market Data Update Q1 2012

10 April 2012

In the following section we highlight some of the key trends emerging this quarter from the data we collect on the UK telecommunications sector.

Fixed voice

  • The UK fixed voice market generated £2.2bn in revenues in Q1 2012, £103m (4.5%) less than was the case in Q1 2011. Fixed voice revenues fell by £19m (0.8%) during Q1 2012, having increased by £22m (1.0%) in the previous quarter.
  • Total UK fixed-originated call volumes increased for the first time in four years in Q1 2012, growing by 84 million minutes (0.3%) to 28.1 billion minutes, however, this was 2.9 billion minutes (9.3%) less than the volume of outgoing fixed calls in Q1 2011.
  • The total number of UK fixed lines (which includes ISDN channels) grew for the second successive quarter in Q1 2012, at the end of the period there were 33.3 million fixed lines, 26,000 (0.1%) more than there had been a year previously. During the quarter a 303,000 (1.3%) increase in the number of residential fixed lines was offset by a 223,000 (2.4%) fall in the number of business fixed lines.

Fixed broadband

  • At the end of Q1 2012 there were a total of 20.9 million UK residential and SME fixed broadband connections, 1.4 million (7.4%) more than there had been a year previously.
  • BT’s retail share of these lines was unchanged during Q1 2012, at 29.3%. This was 0.8 percentage points higher than it had been a year previously.


  • In Q1 2012, retail mobile revenues increased by 1.4% year-on-year but decreased 2.1% quarter-on-quarter.
  • In Q1 2012, the volume of calls made while roaming declined by 13.6% year-on-year, while the volume of SMS and MMS messages sent increased by 5.4% year-on-year.
  • The number of postpaid active mobile subscribers now exceeds the number of prepaid active mobile subscribers, with the former accounting for 50.3%. The number of prepaid active mobile subscribers fell by 1.0million from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012, which is partly explained by seasonal factors following the Christmas period when new connections are often higher. The increase in postpaid subscribers did not make up for this decline, meaning the number of total active mobile subscribers decreased by nearly 250,000 quarter-on-quarter.
  • The number of total active mobile broadband subscribers (dongles and datacards) fell by 60,000 in the first quarter of 2012 to just under 5 million. This decline may be partly due to seasonal factors and can be interpreted in the context of rapidly increasing smartphone data use, which is not captured in these figures.

Telecommunications market data tables Q1 2012 (CSV, 20.4 KB)

Telecommunications market data tables Q1 2012 (PDF, 517.1 KB)