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UK 1H 2005 Mobile Market Overview

June 28, 2005
 
Saw a great presentation summarising the UK mobile carrier market of the 1st half of 2005. Following are some fly-on-the-wall highlights:
 
Current UK subscriber base estimates:
  1. Vodafone – 15.3M (24%)
  2. O2 – 14.38M (23%)
  3. Orange – 14.33M (23%)
  4. T-Mobile – 10.76M (17%)
  5. Virgin – 5.36M (7%)
  6. 3 – 3.05M (5%)
  7. Other (1%)

Overall market growth up 5% for the year.

  • All operators highly competitive and active in market
  • One new market entrant, Easy Mobile, and additional contract player (Virgin Mobile)
  • Vodafone plans to launch MVNO (w/ Extreme) in fall 2005;
  • O2 has stated it will likely have two additional MVNOs on network by end of year
  • Possible O2 takeover from BT or Deutsche Telekom
  • Greater focus by all carriers on 3G sales, customer migration, new content
  • More players talking about 3G and 3G “type” services
  • 3 has the highest blended ARPU of around 29 British pounds
  • O2 has the highest data revenue
  • Virgin Mobile has highest data revenue percentage of total revenue (30+%)
  • Overall non-sms data growth still minimal
  • Largest advertising spend by Orange (30% of total spent by all carriers)
  • Largest proporation of advertising spent on Internet advertising was O2 (nearly 20% of its overall spend!)

Industry analysts still guessing at what will work (from conference: Mobile Entertainment Market 2005, 21 June):

  • Estimate that most content is off-portal and adult related
  • Estimate 50-70% of all mobile content downloaded from outside network operator portals
  • 70-80% of mobile pictures and video downloads related to adult content with 20% sports related
  • Demand for games limited to very simple, easy-to-play games
  • Most customers still perceive difficulties with accessing off-portal content including hidden/ unknown charges

Looks like Christmas ’05 will be a highly competitive time in the UK 3G mobile market and overall a great one for end users!

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