UK consumers are benefiting from lower priced communications services than people in other major European countries and the US, according to new Ofcom research.
Compared to French, German, Italian, Spanish and US consumers, those in the UK can take advantage of consistently cheaper access to mobile phone, landline telephone and broadband deals.
To get the most accurate picture of what people need to spend in each country to get the best deals, Ofcom created five typical household profiles. These ranged from a low use household with basic needs, through to an affluent household that uses lots of communications services.
Ofcom then identified the best deals available in each country that matched the needs of these households. The UK emerged as either the cheapest or second cheapest in four out of five of the profiles. This information was used to create the price rankings table below.
While the UK was consistently cheaper, not all communications services were the most competitive relative to other countries.
For example, the best deal for a typical family (two parents and two teenage children with average usage needs that bundles together communications and TV services) was £86 a month in France. This was £6 cheaper than the best UK deal of £92 a month.
Premium TV 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.
The biggest savings available to UK consumers are for mobile phone deals, which are significantly cheaper than in other major European countries and almost three times less than what US consumers pay.
For example, a typical handset with 200 minutes, 50 texts and 200MB of data costs on average £14 per month in the UK. In the US, this would cost £57 four times as much.
Overall, Ofcom compared eight mobile phone usage profiles, ranging from a basic handset with a low call allowance, to a premium smartphone with a large call, text and data allowance. The average price across all eight of these profiles fell by 23% for UK consumers during the year.
These 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.