Telecoms spending climbed last year by 7.2%, compared to just 1.6% in Jersey, taking average monthly consumer spending on telecommunications services to £93.46 in Guernsey, compared to £91.06 in Jersey.
Islanders spend more on fixed line services and marginally more on pay as you go mobiles, but broadband and mobile contract costs came out slightly cheaper in Guernsey.
Data-hungry islanders used 25% more mobile data in 2021 than the year before, but it is argued that a shorter Covid lockdown contributed to that. Jersey mobile data use only rose by 4.6%.
The report, carried out by Statistics Jersey on behalf of the Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority (GCRA) and the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority (JCRA), showed that the economic contribution of the telecoms sector in the Channel Islands continues to grow, while trends of mobile data overtaking calls and texts is being maintained.
Total turnover generated from fixed and mobile services, internet access, associated services and handset sales increased in Guernsey by 10.3% to £69.6m. in 2021, and contributed £6m. to the Guernsey exchequer through corporate, staff and social taxes. Total turnover in Jersey increased by 6.1% to £107.8m., with £16m. paid in taxes, including GST.
Data usage in both islands remains below the UK average of 453Gb per month. Guernsey subscribers' usage climbed 18.7% to an average of 300 Gbytes per month, while in Jersey this usage was 349 Gb per month, up 17.1% on 2020. Text volumes have continued to fall slightly in both islands, decreasing by 3.8% in both Guernsey and in Jersey over the year, and the total number of mobile call minutes declined by 6.3% in Guernsey in 2021 and 11.8% in Jersey.
The industry in the islands employs some 750 people, just over 200 of them in Guernsey.
Broadband penetration rates continue to be higher in the islands than the OECD average, though they lag slightly behind that of the UK.
The regulators noted that competition is working well in the markets, as there are regular switches of provider from islanders looking for the best service or deals.
Over the year 3.2% of registered mobile numbers in Guernsey switched between service providers, while in Jersey the figure was 2.2%, but this is well behind the UK average of 10% of customers shopping around.
In a joint statement, the Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority and its Jersey equivalent said: ‘Our telecoms sectors are well regulated, enjoy a healthy level of competition, and are invested in technological innovation and infrastructure that has supported consumers and businesses through a difficult year as a result of the pandemic challenges.
‘This independent report is valuable in giving a detailed picture of how the telecoms market is performing, not just for consumers locally but against similar services in the UK.’
All three telecoms operators in the island were approached for comment, but all declined.