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The Ofcom Consumer Experience Report 2014

5 February 2015

Ofcom has published its ninth annual report on the consumer experience of telecoms, internet, digital broadcasting and postal services. The report analyses the overall experience of residential consumers, across various demographic groups, of the communications markets over the past 12 months. In particular, the report looks at the following areas:

Changing Use of Communications

There has been a 5% rise in the number of people who use their mobile phone to access the internet, up from 53% in 2013 to 58% in 2014.

In the last year there has been a decrease in the number of households with televisions, from 98% to 96%. Students are the group that are most likely to live in a household without a television.

Availability of Services and Providers

The report found that 75% of UK premises can access superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbit/s or more. 72% of premises have an outdoor mobile signal from at least one 4G operator and digital terrestrial television has near universal coverage of 98.5%.

Take-up of Services and Devices

Around half of all adults in the UK access multichannel television at home through Freeview, with 34% using Freeview only. This compares to 30% using satellite only and 14% using cable only.

There has been a decline in the ownership of laptops (from 66% to 63%) and an increase in ownership of both smartphones (from 56% to 63%) and tablets (from 29% to 46%).

Consumer Choice and Value

This section of the report focuses on purchasing and pricing and finds a 3% increase in the take-up of bundled fixed line, broadband and TV services from 60% to 63%.

The lowest price available for a basic stand-alone pay-TV service increased by £1 per month to £17 per month and the lowest available price for a HD premium pay-TV service decreased by £3 per month to £63 per month.

Consumer Interest and Activity

Ofcom also looked at the extent to which consumers are interested in and engaged with each of the communications markets, and satisfaction with their current providers.

The report finds that switching levels have declined since 2013 in all communications markets except digital TV and that review of personal finances, poor service and better deals are the main triggers that prompted consumers to review their choice of provider.

Consumer Protection

This section of the report looks at the types of complaints that consumers are making to Ofcom. On average, 1500 complaints per month were received in relation to broadcasting standards, with the standard of programme content continuing to be the key focus. Complaints peaked at 5098 in June 2014, compared to 1591 in October 2013.

Digital Day 2014

The Digital Day study looked at UK adults’ and children’s media and communications activities, to provide an overview of the role of media and communications in people’s lives. The survey recorded when participants undertook media and communications activities and what device they were using.

The study found that adults aged 65 and over consume, on average, just over 9 hours of media per day and 50% of this time involves watching live or recorded TV on a television set.

Further Reading
  • The Consumer Experience Report has been published alongside Ofcom’s Consumer Experience Policy Evaluation, which uses the key findings and trends from the Consumer Experience Report to assess the impact of Ofcom’s policy work and activities. A full copy of each report can be found here
  • Results from the Digital Day Survey can be found here

For further information, please contact David Hirschman or Dionne Alveranga.