Ofcom Mobile Sector Assessment Interactive Executive Summary

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The mobile industry has changed significantly in recent years, in ways that have benefited us individually and contributed to UK society – reflecting rapid growth and technological advances underpinned, in part, regulation:

  • mobile has become nearly ubiquitous. 84 per cent of people aged 8 or over use, or have access to, mobile services;
  • mobile has become a critical input for business, with mobile communications now a vital element in an increasingly services-based economy;
  •  with five mobile network operators, as well as several large ‘virtual’ operators, the UK market is often cited as one of the most competitive in the world; and
  •  the market continues to change. For example, demand for mobile broadband services has grown dramatically since late 2007.

Mobile has already delivered huge benefits to citizens, consumers and society as a whole


Terry Bernstein on 29 August 2008 at 10:47am

Mobile (especially pay-as-you-go)rather than fixed phone seems to be the option for members of society who can not afford the upfront charges for a fixed phone installation, or who live in unreliable accommodation. i.e the poorest in society

Derek Porter on 29 August 2008 at 5:21pm

What mobiles have done for society is to increase street crime, with muggings and thefts of phones, impose the most anti-social item ever invented upon people, as mobile users shout into the damned things in public and to stop conversation dead,as ignorant, rude mobile owners have to answer their gadget as a priority.

John Hodgson on 30 August 2008 at 11:58am

Mobile has become a critical input for business, increasing working hours and expectations of working with your dinner in front of you.

Should Ofcom not be advising the DWP on how mobile technology is changing society so that they can introduce employment laws which protect the employee.

Russ Lambert on 1 September 2008 at 6:03am

I think if you purchase a mobile contract and then find that you cannot reasonablby use that mobile at home because of a poor signal you should be able to cancel the contract at any time.

Warren Berdo on 1 September 2008 at 11:00am

The mobile networks radically undermine the use of NGN for business by massively overcharging for NGN calls. Allowing the mobile networks to charge up to 25ppm for a call to a freephone (0800) number is a travesty, which threatens to undermine the entire NGN market. My understanding is that Ofcom has insufficient regulatory power to intervene, so the mobile operators continue to thumb their noses at you and gouge their customers. To introduce a new range like 03 and ask the mobile networks to allow calls to this range to be covered in mobile bundles might be a step in the right direction, but it will be a decade before there is significant takeup of 03. That's another 10 years of profiteering by the mobile networks. I would suggest that allowing them to charge whatever they like to call an NGN that is supposed to be charged at a particular rate, is allowing a rogue element to operate inside the ropes (so to speak), as callers have a high degree of confidence that 0800 will be free and yet are charged instead (yes the network operator may play a recording warning that "this call will be charged at your standard rate", but when that "standard rate" is hidden away on page 46 of their terms and conditions the transparency is quite low). Most people (I suspect) would be surprised to know that calls to an 0800 from their mobile can cost them 25ppm, and the fact there hasn't been more complaints is purely a function of the lack of awareness in the marketplace. I would also be interested to know what justification the mobile networks would attempt to make for these charges. I susupect it would simply be "Because no-one has tried to stop us"

A Hayes on 1 September 2008 at 1:52pm

I'm not sure what the "huge" benefits mentioned are.
Yes, it is convenient, yes it is fun. I can't imagine being without my handset (and suitable contract) but I don't see mobile comms as having brought widespread huge benefits to individuals or society in general.

Philip A Bannister on 2 September 2008 at 7:46pm

- Benefits
- Diversity
- Accessibility
- Health
- Environment
- Performance

My feedback indicates areas for use of existing regulation and for enforcement including developing some new compliance and community / green payback with a suggestion of better reporting on performance of networks.

Mobile technology has brought benefits but at a cost.
Whilst it is agrguable that mobile technology has brought some financial benefits to the business sector (not least the providers) and widen accessibility and opportunity for the private customer there remain some difficult issues that need regulation.

The whole sector marketing approach is 'orientated to age 15 - 35,age group. It lacks any images of people older in all forms of advertising and no diversity of age, and little of culture.

Handsets range and features are limited when disability is a factor i.e. physical etc.

The sector is poor at reporting in plain English what the implications ARE and MAY be for health and does not engage in a dialogue with users about possible undiscovered risks of using equipment.

There is little evidence of corporate responsibility for managing the environment and mobile providers are often the transgressors re locating and the appearance of masts. There is so much more they could do and offer to appease people and offer added value through sensitive location of equipment and developing infrastructure around locations including a green levy.

The investment in technology for services seems poor with the roll out being very patchy i.e. 3G. Existing service provision and coverage is talked up and geographical mapping does not provide real Meta data on actual user experience. Call failure and drop out should be subject to performance reporting on a monthly basis by providers.

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About this Site

On this experimental site we encourage you to leave informal comments alongside the Executive Summary of Ofcom's Mobile Sector Assessment consultation, published on 28 August 2008.

Alternatively, you can download the full consultation document, and/or respond formally to the consultation (closing date 6 November 2008). You can also follow the debate over the next few months on the team's blog, Mobile citizens, mobile consumers.