UK communications 'among cheapest'

UK consumers enjoy cheaper communications services than those in other major European countries and the US, according to an Ofcom study.

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Compared to the rest of Europe, the UK pays among the lowest prices for telephone, broadband and TV communications

UK consumers enjoy cheaper communications services than those in other major European countries and the US, according to an Ofcom study.

Mobile phone, landline and broadband deals are consistently cheaper than those available to French, German, Italian, Spanish and US consumers, the report said.

Ofcom created five typical household profiles to compare deals across the countries, finding that the UK emerged as either the cheapest or second cheapest in four out of five of the scenarios.

Not all services offered in the UK were the most competitive, with the best bundle deal for a typical family of two parents and two teenage children £6 a month cheaper in France.

Premium television subscriptions were also found to be more expensive in the UK (£66) than in other countries surveyed, and twice as costly as in Germany (£27), where the cheapest deal was offered.

However, the UK package included twice as many channels, making it difficult to compare TV on a like-for-like basis.

Mobile phone deals are "significantly" cheaper than in other major European countries and almost three times less those on offer in the US, Ofcom said.

A typical handset with 200 minutes, 50 texts and 200MB of data costs on average £14 per month in the UK compared with £57 in the US, the study found.

The findings are included in Ofcom's ninth International Communications Market Report, which examines take-up, availability, price and use of communications services across the world's major countries.

It found the UK has the most affordable communications services for a typical household, with the best deals representing just 2.3% of total living costs.

The least affordable country was Germany, where the best deals cost consumers 3.4% of their outgoings - nearly 50% more than UK consumers.

Ofcom's director of research, James Thickett, said: "The report confirms that consumers in the UK are benefiting from one of the world's most price competitive marketplaces for communications services.

"Telecoms bills have been falling in real terms in the UK for the past 10 years. However, consumers are not just benefiting from cheaper deals - they are also getting much more for less, as the quality and range of telecoms services has expanded hugely in that time."