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Optical/IP

UK Telecom Sees Major Shift

Communications services in the U.K. are in the midst of a major shift as new industry trends and consumer behavior emerge, according to the Ofcom . (See Ofcom Publishes Comms Report.)

The regulator has released its annual Market Communications report for 2005, which indicates consumption of many services is rising as new features such as 3G, VOIP, and converged services come onto the market.

According to the report, total retail revenue in the communications sector reached £50 billion (US$94.44) for the first time last year, a 5.5 percent increase from 2004. The largest annual rise came from the telecom sector, which was up by £2 billion.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Fixed-line substitution continues -- mobile phone usage accounted for 31 percent of all call minutes, up from 28 percent in 2004, and the number of VOIP users had risen to 1.8 million by the end of 2005.

  • Falling prices meant that, for the first time in five years, average household spending on communications services fell as a proportion of total spend -- from 4.63 percent in 2004 to 4.60 percent -- despite increased consumption.

  • Broadband prices fell by 60 percent as the number of households connected increased by 63 percent to 9 million.

  • By June 2006, unbundled services were available to 44 percent of the population, up from 34 percent, and 6.1 million of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s fixed lines took some or all of their voice services from another operator using carrier pre-selection -- up by 1.2 million lines.

  • A new "networked generation" of 16- to 24-year-olds is turning away from television, radio, and newspapers in favor of mobile devices and online communities such as MySpace.


— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

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