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Mobile users 'get more for less'

A woman using her mobile29/1/14

By Ian Barnsley

The average mobile phone user is paying almost a quarter less than they were a decade ago while receiving significantly more for their money, according to a report.

The communications industry regulator Ofcom said competition has cut prices across the sector and only postal and pay TV services are exceptions to the rule.

Ofcom's Cost and Value of Communications Services in the UK study reveals increasing amounts of innovation and investment have widened the services on offer and given consumers more choice and quality.

When it comes to their mobiles, British customers spent £19.13 on average a month in 2012 - a drop of nearly a quarter on the £24.99 they were paying in 2003.

Only 8% of adults don't have a mobile phone

In that time the number of calls made has surged from 54 billion minutes a year to 125 billion and 172 billion text messages were sent in 2012, compared to just 24 billion in 2003.

The study found that all but 8 per cent of adults have a mobile phone and mobile data use doubled between 2011 and 2012.

Brits typically paid £29.71 a month for their landline services in 2003 - 28 per cent less than the £21.47 they cost them nine years later.

Call volumes have fallen from 88 billion a year in 2003 to 60 billion two years ago.

However, Ofcom has discovered that the cost of some landline services became more expensive in 2013 and is keeping an eye on them to make sure they do not become unaffordable.

72% of homes connected to broadband

In 2012 residential broadband cost consumers £16.38 per month on average, a fall of 48 per cent on the £31.79 paid in 2004.

Just 6 per cent of UK homes were connected to broadband 11 years ago but now nearly three quarters of households (72 per cent) are benefiting from services at a higher speed.

Households that subscribe to pay TV services are paying around the same now on average than they were 10 years ago.

The vast majority of consumers are satisfied with the reliability of their communications services, none more so than those with landline phones (94 per cent) and digital TV (93 per cent).

People are less satisfied with their broadband, with the 88 per cent share of contented customers in 2012 dipping to 83 per cent last year.

'Quality and value matters as much as availability'

An 82 per cent share of mobile phone users are happy with their reception and network access, showing no change between 2012 and 2013.

Many of those who complain about their communications services are living in rural areas, with 19 per cent and 17 per cent unhappy with the reliability of their mobile and broadband connections respectively.

Ofcom received 2,857 calls about silent or cut-off calls in October last year, over a quarter less than in April.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: "The quality and value of communications services matters as much as their availability.

"The record in the last decade is good but we are determined to maintain focus on these important areas to ensure that communications markets continue to work in the best interests of consumers".

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