Telecommunications Market Data Update Q4 2012

10 April 2012

This report was reissued on 9 May 2013 with restatements to the broadband connection figures in Table 16 in the fixed telecoms section of the report (page 17).

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

The fixed telecoms tables in this report include restated figures for 'other indirect' call minutes and revenues. These figures have been restated as a result of revisions to our estimates for 'other indirect' calls originated by those fixed telephony providers that do not provide regular quarterly data to Ofcom.

Fixed voice

  • UK fixed telephony services generated £2.1bn in retail revenues in Q4 2012, £93m (4.2%) less than in Q4 2011. BT's market share of these revenues 45.7%, 2.6 percentage points less than it had been a year previously.
  • There were 33.1 million fixed lines at the end of Q4 2012, 107,000 (0.3%) less than a year previously and 135,000 (0.4%) up on the previous quarter.
  • There were 25.1 billion minutes of fixed-originated calls in Q4 2012, 1.9 billion minutes (7.0%) less than in Q4 2011. Over the same period BT's share of fixed-originated call volumes decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 38.5%.

Fixed broadband

  • There were 21.7 million UK residential and SME fixed broadband connections at the end of Q4 2012, 1.1 million (5.4%) more than there had been a year previously.
  • BT's retail share of these connections was 29.6% in Q4 2012, 0.5 percentage points higher than it was in Q4 2011.
  • There were more than a million 'other' (predominantly fibre-based) fixed broadband connections for the first time during the period. At the end of December 2012 there were 1.1 million 'other' connections (5.1% of the total), up from 416,000 (2.0%) a year previously.


  • Estimated retail revenues generated by mobile telephony increased by 0.8% in 2012 to £15.2bn, though the fourth-quarter figure declined 0.3% compared with the same quarter one year previously. The two major areas of growth were 'Access and bundled services' and 'Data services': these increased by 5.8% and 16.8% respectively in 2012 in terms of full-year figures.
  • 2012 became the second consecutive year of decline in call volumes with a decline of 1.0%, slightly smaller than the annual decline in 2011 of 1.1%. Mobile-to-fixed and mobile-to-mobile voice call volumes have each declined for two consecutive years, with the former declining 2.0% and the latter declining 0.7% in 2012.
  • In Q4 2012, the volume of SMS messages sent was 6.4% lower than the same quarter the year before, at 37.3bn messages. Q4 2011 saw the largest volume of SMS messages sent in one quarter. There was an increase of 0.7% in 2012 as a whole, with 152.3bn messages being sent.
  • From Q3 2012 to Q4 2012, the number of active mobile subscribers increased 0.7% to 82.675m, a new high. The increase from Q4 2011 was 1.3%. The number of active mobile broadband subscribers decreased 1.8% from Q3 2012 to Q4 2012, ending the year with 4.917m.

Full Reports

Q4 2012 Telecoms Data Tables (CSV, 20.4 KB)

Q4 2012 telecoms data tables (PDF, 514.9 KB)