The Connected Nations 2022 report has been released by Ofcom, detailing progress of the roll-out and availability of broadband and mobile services in the United Kingdom. It can be accessed here.
From a cellular industry perspective, highlights from the report are listed below:
- The availability of 5G services continues to grow rapidly, with the level of coverage provided outside of premises by at least one Mobile Network Operator (MNO) rising from 42-57% in 2021 (across a range covering Very High and High Confidence) to 67-77% in 2022.
- Ofcom’s analysis of MNO 5G predictions indicates that Three has the most extensive 5G coverage outside premises at our ‘High Confidence’ level, at 58%; BT EE retains the most coverage at our ‘Very High Confidence’ level, reaching outside 45% of premises.
- 4G continues to carry the majority of mobile data traffic (accounting for 87% of total data traffic), with 4G coverage from at least one MNOs reaching 92% of UK landmass.
- Mobile traffic continues to grow, though we have seen slower growth this year, with traffic levels increasing c.27% year on year, compared with a 37% rise between 2020 and 2021. However, it is too early to determine if vo this represents a trend.
- Data traffic carried over 5G has increased more rapidly, rising from 3% of all traffic in 2021 to over 9% this year, generated from a device pool which now includes c. 20% 5G capable handsets.
- Ofcom sees continued evolution in non-consumer connectivity, with growth in private networks offered by MNOs, and by other players. Internet of Things (IoT) traffic also rose significantly, with a 20% growth in MNOs’ IoT traffic.
Vodafone, EE and 3 have announced dates for demising their 3G networks over the next two years. No such dates have been announced for 2G networks. The estimated number of devices dependent on 2G/3G has been increased to 5.5 million. There is an expectation that devices that are reliant on 3G networks for voice traffic will fall back to 2G as 3G is withdrawn.