What is ahead for business telecoms this year?


Over the coming year we’ll see changes in business telecoms accelerating. Here are some thoughts on how this will develop and the impact for business.

Our increasing data needs

Data consumption is going to continue to grow. Stats from 2016 show 1.26Gb per user per month, increasing to 1.72Gb in 2017. Although we cannot find statistics to prove this, we believe business users are consuming more data than consumers. At the time of writing, I’ve consumed 7.1Gb of data per month, on average, over the last three months.

With the increasing cyber security threat, the use of mobile data, as opposed to Wifi, will increase dramatically. With mobile data becoming cheaper and cheaper, public Wifi is just not worth the risks it poses.

Will landlines disappear?

The number of homes in the UK with a landline has decreased by 3% in the last 5 years. A further 24% of households have a landline they never use. Many have them because internet connection is cheaper when they take a landline from their internet provider.

Unlimited call contracts make using a mobile a no-brainer. Smart speakers, such as Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home and Apple’s Homepod, can connect to each other via the internet. You can talk to other devices in the same house. Phoning your customers, and gran, has never been easier.

With companies such as PwC removing landlines from all their UK offices, it is likely that the office landline will be disappearing as well.

For people who still like desk phones, products such as the ZigeeDock mean you have all the features, but you use your mobile to make the calls.

Brexit’s Impact on Roaming Charges

Roaming charges may be rearing their ugly head again, particularly if we leave the EU with a no deal Brexit. Although the main mobile operators have said they have no current plans to change, that doesn’t mean it will be the same after March 29th. Planned government legislation sets a limit at £45 per month (unless you opt out) and a requirement for the operators to warn you before you go over your data usage allowance. We will wait and see.

How fast will 5G be?

The marketing hype around 5G grows daily. Claims of early speeds of 5Gbps, and climbing, will need to be proven. Once the networks are live to consumers and they are being properly load-tested, we expect real-life performance results to be down on the claims.

AT&T tests showed on 194.9 Mbps download

Huawei attained 970 Mbps at the beginning of 2018

Qualcomm’s real-life simulations delivered up to 717Mbps

The expectation is that there may only be around one million 5G handsets on the streets by the end of 2019, it will be interesting to see what speeds they can get.

Who’ll sell the first devices?

We won’t be able to use 5G without a device. Every major handset manufacturer is developing something, but whose will we see in the shops first? Front runners are Samsung’s S10 and Huawei’s P30. February’s Mobile World Congress Event (25-28 Feb.) will give us all an indication of the answer to this question.

Choices to be made

As telecoms companies sell both mobile solutions and internet connectivity this will lead to a marketing dilemma. What products will these companies recommend (both to consumers and SMEs)? The investment made to install fibre, both FTTC and FTTP, is going to be threatened by 5G. For companies with high data requirements, the choice will still be a fixed line internet connection. However, small businesses with data needs will have a choice. In areas where high speed internet coverage is still poor, such as rural locations, out of town business parks and even some city centres, 5G will provide welcome relief to high cost copper-based solutions.

Change will get faster in 2019 and continue to playout in the years ahead.


Mike Ianiri is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Mike works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk
Twitter: @CommsEquinox