UK mobile data usage rises 44 percent as M2M drives new subscriptions

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UK mobile subscribers increased their data usage by 44 percent in 2016 as they capitalised on faster 4G plans, research from Ofcom has revealed.

The average UK connection used 1.3GB of data in June 2016, up from 0.9GB in June 2015, according to the regulator’s annual Communications Market Report.

The growth in data usage came as the proportion of mobile subscriptions with 4G access rose 32.9 percent to 52.4 million – 62.1 percent of all connections.

Ofcom found that 4G subscribers could successfully download data 95.6 percent of the time, while for 3G-only users the figure was 92.4 percent.

M2M is the fastest growing area for new mobile subscriptions, with 7.6 million recorded in 2016, an increase of 14.2 percent. Mobile handset subscriptions fell 0.4 percent.

The report also noted that outgoing calls from mobiles rose 5.7 percent to 151 billion minutes in 2016.

However, international calls fell 8.5 percent, which Ofcom suggested was due to increasing use of OTT services such as Skype and Facetime.

Traditional messaging services saw continuing decline, with the number of SMS or MMS messages falling 5.5 percent to hit 96.4 billion. Since 2011, the total number has declined by 35.6 percent.

The report found that the UK telecoms industry netted £35.6 billion in 2016, up from £35.4 billion in 2015, according to Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report.