The consumption of mobile data is well documented and there is no doubt that mobile data is being used exponentially year on year. For your business user, being able to keep in contact via email or use certain apps is just as important as having the ability to make calls. In this article David Dungay explores mobile data in the UK and takes a look at options for business users wanting a similar
State of Play
Mobile data consumption is growing fast. Cisco recently predicted that in the UK mobile data traffic will reach 634.4 petabytes per month by 2019, that’s the equivalent of 159 million DVDs each month, up from 74.2 petabytes in 2014. Businesses will need to adapt and ensure the appropriate provision is in place for this trend.
Jon Nowell, Head of Product Management, TalkTalk Business commented “The age of mobility is well and truly upon us. What was originally a controlled, gradual movement, mirroring the growth of remote offices and home working has now changed. The next generation workforce, as well as the current, expects to be able to access the same level of IT in the workplace as they do at home.
Nick Rathod, Advanced Applications Solution Architect at ShoreTel added “Today’s workplace goes far beyond the office. When workers are out and about, connectivity is more essential than ever in ensuring they can fulfill their duties effectively. A person’s email inbox on their smartphone has become indispensable and it needs to be easily accessible as end customers now have a pre-conceived notion that resellers, dealers and partners are contactable anywhere and everywhere – they expect answers more and more quickly.”
The Move to VoIP
Jon Nowell thinks that the mobile data trend could lead business users to take advantage of VoIP. He commented “Over the last couple of years there has been growth in the demand for affordable, secure and always-available communication channels amongst businesses. Consequently, with mobile devices and wireless technology now fundamental tools in the office, 2015 could quite possibly be the year of the mobile VoIP for businesses.
“At its core mobile VoIP offers businesses flexibility and the capability to always be available for colleagues, partners and crucially customers, regardless of location. It means businesses should never miss a call again. This is an essential capability in today’s business world of fine margins, where one missed customer call could cost or make a business thousands.
“At TalkTalk Business we recently launched Talk2Go, an app enabling customers to make and receive calls whilst out and about using 3G or 4G mobile data or over Wi-Fi. These calls are charged at the same rate as if a customer was at work, using their landline. Talk2Go includes a Follow Me feature, which transfers calls from the landline to the mobile – in the UK or abroad – at no extra cost. Crucially, this helps businesses avoid expensive international roaming charges, allowing users to call from abroad as if they were in the UK. For SMEs in particular this offers a significant business advantage.”
Everyone has heard the horror stories about travellers inadvertently running up thousands of pounds worth of data roaming costs. For businesses with a travelling workforce, these unexpected costs can run up to tens of thousands of pounds if roaming is not managed correctly. According to Ovum market research, Global Roaming revenues in 2014 were $66bn and projected to grow to $88bn by 2019. The number of international travellers would also cross 1.6bn by 2020, representing a very exciting market opportunity in the roaming space.
Arif Reza, CEO or WorldSIM said “Increasingly, travellers are taking multiple handsets or even tablets abroad. For these additional devices, voice communication is less important, with data being the prime requirement. Travellers are happy to purchase local/specialty SIMs which offer the best data prices and access.
Product innovations are also slowly appearing in the roaming market whereby some Telco’s are allowing customers to buy bundles for data use abroad, in a sense reducing the risk for the customer, but importantly encouraging them to keep their handsets on. Silent roamers are being converted into paying customers. Some players have even gone further offering application specific bundles such as WhatsApp and Facebook bundles.
Tommi Uhari, CEO, Uros stated “Recent legislation by the EU to reduce the data roaming farce have only gone so far – they have made what was almost criminal rates for data roaming, slightly more palatable. Even now, the data roaming rates in the EU would cost the average business traveller almost £60 per day. In the UK a similar bundle of data would be £5.
The cost of data roaming is also more than bill shock. How many businesses will miss out on internationalising because of caution over bill shock? For every £1 billed by the networks for data roaming I believe another £10 is lost in lack of efficiency and productivity of business people on the road.”
Evolution of data pricing – Market Insight
Dan Cunliffe – Connectivity Specialist
Why do we even need to use fixed connectivity anymore? Its been an interesting topic since the launch of 4G and the mammoth speeds that are available over the LTE networks. Add in the ever present need to connect on the move, not only as people, but our things are starting to demand something similar.
It is clear that there are two major areas of growth in the international telecoms space. The demand for data as we all know is ever increasing; however the number of connected devices are also in the ascendency. Cisco, Gartner and Beecham all tell a similar story – many billion devices connected in the next 5 years with an equally exponential increase in the amount of data. Some excellent examples like SMART Agriculture, Connected Cities and the improvement in supply chain management are already being delivered.
How does the channel firstly, understand the growth and secondly, capitalize on it? My thoughts are that the commercial model as well as the move to adopting mobile data in the traditional telecoms delivery is key. Most areas within the reseller community are selling data of some sorts and it’s this current understanding that will support the growth of mobile data into our traditional delivery methods. By partnering with a mobile data supplier that allows the resellers to simply deliver existing services but with a 3G or 4G SIM, will allow for a natural growth in new ways of delivering existing products.
Secondly the commercial structures are different and need to be understood. The commercials are driven by volume in data and SIMs, as with most data pricing models, and the way to maintain a margin across the board is to allow for this to flow through correctly. If the customer only needs a small amount of data across its SIMs then it should be expected that the cost per SIM is higher than if a customer wants a larger volume of data.
Mobile data is exploding right now! As connection speeds have increased the opportunities that come along with that are numerous. As pointed out by Dan Cunliffe there are many opportunities to sell existing services over a 3G/ 4G connection, this could be key for resellers looking to get in on the action. The value of the international roaming market is staggering and for those dealers/ resellers selling into businesses that travel frequently there are many options available to help them make margin.