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Mobile Predictions

2017 Predictions

New year, new budgets, new opportunities and new threats. Here’s what the UK mobile industry is expecting in the upcoming 12 months fibre networks improve along with usability of new technology for the customer.’

Flexible working The end of 2017 will also mark the deadline for all four operators to achieve 90% geographic coverage, as pledged to Ofcom in early 2015 in return for reduced licence agreements. This represents a major shift away from population coverage percentages, as noted by Rainbow Communication’s sales and marketing director Stuart Carson, who

Fibre boosts additional services November’s news of tax relief for fibre installers, and the separation of BT from Openreach, means that for many connectivity providers, broadband could become more competitive at wholesale price. As Excalibur CEO James Phipps predicts: ‘Openreach being potentially broken up will provide competitors with the opportunity to try to take advantage.’ Secondly, a faster rollout of fibre could allow unified comms providers to offer more services to more businesses. Onecom CEO Darren Ridge explains: ‘Currently only two per cent of UK addresses are connected to a full fibre line – but I expect that figure to be a lot higher by the end of the year, supported by the investment in broadband infrastructure announced in the government’s Autumn Statement and by innovative partnerships such as Onecom’s offering with CityFibre. ‘These superfast connections have transformational potential, allowing businesses to access ever-more powerful cloud services, which give them the ability to evolve as the technology does. This in turn will enable truly seamless remote working, driving efficiencies and bringing costs down.’ This expectation of fibre rollout as the backbone for new services was echoed by TWL Voice and Data’s head of business development and marketing Gemma Morris, who told Mobile: ‘Naturally we want to see www.mobiletoday.co.uk

told Mobile that a major 2017 trend would be: ‘The move from population coverage to geographical coverage reporting, which will hopefully let business people know better how likely they are to remain connected on the move. EE is leading the way.’ He continued by explaining that greater network reliability on the move would have ‘a positive effect on mobiles’ as it would lead to more ways of using their phone and data as a productivity tool while on the go. Verastar CEO Chris Earle agrees: ‘We expect to see an increase in the usage of data and greater take-up of mobile applications to allow small businesses to manage their business on the move.’ As with increased fibre coverage, increased mobile coverage and speeds will allow solutions specialists to provide more services to their customers, with Aerial Communications stating: ‘Data speeds will continue to increase and, as a result, cloud IT solutions will become increasingly popular, allowing for more collaborative and flexible working practices for businesses.’ Outlining the basis for the increase in demand for flexible working, Daisy’s SMB Services MD Dave McGinn says: ‘People want

to be better connected to not just their hardware, their systems and their tools, but their colleagues, their customers and their suppliers. ‘This enhanced sense of connectivity will allow businesses to take hold of industry developments that are set to not necessarily launch, but to surge in 2017. Mobility being an obvious one. ‘Generation X, Y and even millennia employees now demand the right to work more flexibly both in terms of timing and location. Work is becoming a thing they do and not a place they go. In turn, this opens up another opportunity and an emerging trend for 2017, with suppliers beginning to offer more and more Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions, managing the infrastructure and protecting the environment.’ Elaborating on growth areas for dealers, Curran from Plan.com included a service intrinsically linked to flexible working, telling Mobile: ‘VoIP will become fundamental to businesses of all sizes – with the biggest uptake among SMEs. Traditional mobile partners who start selling and servicing this market will generate significant revenue growth and increase business stability.’ However, flexible working isn’t just providing opportunities for unified comms providers, it’s providing challenges as well. Darren Seward, head of Westcoast’s mobile division, suggests that ‘new EU regulations increasing corporate responsibility for data protection are relevant to mobile due to corporate data on mobile phones and device management.’

A digital future Describing 2017 as a year of political and commercial upheaval, Fonehouse CEO and owner Clive Bailey outlines the role of online:

December 2016

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Mobile December 2016  
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