Britain rules European telecoms roost says EU

Britain is the most competitive mobile and fixed line telecoms market in the European Union, according to a new report out from the European Commission.

The EU’s telecoms sector, which is worth about 3% of EU GDP, continued to grow in 2008 with revenues estimated at above €300 billion, up 1.3% compared to 2007 and outperforming the rest of the economy (up by 1% only). Europe leads the world in mobile phone services with the number of subscriptions in 2008 at 119% of the EU population (up seven percentage points from 2007), well ahead of the US (87%) and Japan (84%).

These are some of the findings in the annual progress report by the European Commission on the single telecoms market. One of the main conclusions is that the consumers are benefiting from the sector’s competitiveness in that they pay less while getting better value for money. This is particularly true for Britain, where the average monthly mobile bill fell as low as £18.31 (€19.76) in 2008, down from £23.53 (€ 25.39) in 2007.

Broadband is another area of continued progress for the UK. The fixed broadband penetration reached 28.4% of the population in January 2009, up 2.7 percentage points compared to January 2008 and above the EU average (22.9%). The British market for fixed and mobile phone services is among the most competitive in the EU. The largest mobile operator has 25% of all subscribers, the lowest share for a leading mobile operator in the union. In the fixed voice market, the share for the incumbent operator is again among the lowest in terms of revenue and traffic volume.

The report is based on facts and figures provided from national telecoms regulators and market players which are verified by experts from the European Commission.