This is mainly concerned with infrastructure services such as broadband, but will also cover mobile 4G and future 5G services and "over-the-top" services (i.e. services deliver on top of Internet services such as VoIP, messaging systems such as WhatsApp which is replacing SMS, etc).
Ofcom last held a review 10 years ago after BT's infrastructure operation was separated into a distinct entity (BT Openreach, though still part of BT Group).
There have been many changes since the last review such as the merger of T-Mobile and Orange into EE (which has subsequently been purchased by BT) and consolidation in the ISP market (02, Tiscali, AOL, Be, Easynet).
- broadband adoption has increased from 31% to 78%
- take-up of bundled services has risen from 29% in 2005 to 63% today
- significant commercial and public sector investment in superfast broadband has resulted in 78% availability five years after deployment started. Adoption of this new service is now 27%
- mobile broadband availability has increased significantly, with 3G increasing from 82% to 99% of premises, and 4G services available to 73% of premises. Mobile broadband take-up is now 67%
- new entrants have shown strong growth in some areas (for example, local loop unbundling now accounts for 44% of broadband connections, up from 17% in 2005)
While Ofcom can not predict the overall output it will likely encompass
- Efficient investment: How can incentives for efficient private sector investment and innovation be maintained and strengthened, to ensure widespread availability and high quality of service?
- Competition: What should be the focus of competition policy in future networks (the 'enduring economic bottlenecks')?
- Deregulation: What is the scope for deregulating networks and services downstream of any 'enduring bottlenecks'?
Ofcom is planning to complete the review by Summer of 2015.