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O2 has more connections than BT - so what?

Ofcom's 2009 communications market report published on Thursday contained a plethora of statistics, including one about O2's subscriber numbers that left me more than a little perplexed.

"During 2008 O2 (including Tesco Mobile) overtook BT to become the U.K.'s largest provider of telecoms connections; at the end of 2008 there were 21.5 million active O2 (and Tesco Mobile) subscriptions compared to 20.6 million BT lines and integrated services digital network (ISDN) channels," said Ofcom.

Great, but what's their point?

Granted these days BT and O2 are competing more directly for broadband customers, but the latter's mobile users still make up the bulk of its total subscriber base, and the last time I checked, BT doesn't operate its own mobile network.

The core offerings from each telco are aimed at capturing entirely different areas of the market - I doubt BT's Ian Livingston will lose much sleep over O2 UK's overall customer base, which is made up of more than 20 million mobile customers and less than half a million DSL users.

So, Ofcom has correctly pointed out that O2 has more customers than BT, which makes about as much sense as saying that more people buy potatoes from Sainsbury's than eat Haagen Dazs.
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