Advances and improvements in network infrastructure, as well as the convergence of media and communications, have led to an increasingly connected world. This is reflected in the wide availability and take-up of connected mobile devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets). Consumers are at the centre of this connected and converged landscape, and now have access to a range of services giving instant access on any device, at the touch of an app.

The increased availability of apps has transformed the way we order goods and services, manage our financial affairs, and access audio and video entertainment. Services offering the delivery of food (e.g. Deliveroo, Just Eat) and transport (e.g. Uber, Halo) typify apps designed to make people’s lives easier and enable the use of services ‘on-demand’. Many of these services originated in the US and have since been rolled out internationally.

In addition to making themselves connected, consumers can make their households connected. This has given rise to the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), a term that relates to devices’ ability to communicate with each other, with little or no human intervention.7 The scope of the IoT is broad and covers a range of applications across a wide variety of industries.

The UK communications industry in context

The communications sector’s total global revenue (incorporating the telecoms, television, postal and radio sectors) was £1,166bn in 2015. Telecoms and TV were the largest sectors, contributing £802bn and £263bn respectively. UK communications sector revenues remained the fifth highest of our comparator countries. In 2015, as in recent years, the three largest communications markets by revenue were the US, China and Japan. Outside the top three, total UK revenue was second only to Germany.

The UK generated £758 per head across our communications industries in 2015, which was the highest of the EU511. This figure was £315 lower than the US, which once again had the highest revenue per head of our comparator countries, at £1,073 per person. Global advertising expenditure was £308bn in 2015. TV accounted for the largest amount of advertising expenditure, at £106bn, followed by the internet (£102bn)