Author: Ray Ferris, Group Managing Director
Over the last twelve months, we have witnessed the roll-out of 5G networks, and after great anticipation and hype, 5G is now a commercial reality. An enabler for progressive technologies, we are already discovering new and innovative use cases for the fifth-generation wireless technology.
Now live in a number of towns or cities from at least one of the three major network providers, UK businesses are now benefiting from ultra-fast bandwidth whilst highly congested areas such as railway hubs are now experiencing a far greater capacity for connectivity than ever before.
5G is here, but there is still much to achieve
Global mobile data is expected to multiply five times within the next four years. Such is the level of demand, carriers and governments alike are pushing the deployment of 5G further and faster this year. Industries around the world are considering how this revolution will allow themselves to reinvent the way they deliver goods and services.
However, uptake towards 5G enabled devices remains modest. There are still many locations in the UK that are yet to experience 5G and for the towns and cities that offer it, many inhabitants remain on incompatible mobile devices. That said, the industry has experienced a slow-down in smartphone sales over the last twelve to eighteen months so we anticipate that as 5G accessibility improves, so too may the uptake of 5G enabled devices. Indeed, Apple is set to release its first 5G handset to the UK later this year, and with this, we expect a surge of interest in 5G amongst consumers – Apple is quite often the catalyst for a mass uptake in service.
Mobile data consumption is changing
In 2019, data consumed across fixed and mobile connections grew an estimated 25 per cent compared to the year before. According to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report, 240GB of data was used each month per fixed broadband connection, whilst each mobile data connection saw an average usage of 2.9GB.
Largely fueled by public demand for more non-linear media consumption, video-on-demand subscription services and a growing requirement for 24/7 professional and personal communication, network operators have been busy introducing double-data deals into the B2B market to cater for ‘unlimited’ data requirements.
Demonstrating greater agility than ever before, the channel is now better assisting users against bill shock, but there is still more to be done. The issue remains at large in the marketplace and trends in the industry show this isn’t going away. Within the next two years, 5G will be widespread, and so too will be the demand for data. In addition, as more and more business takes place amongst emerging markets, many users are being caught out by accessing data limits outside of their contracts unintentionally (roaming charges still apply for specific destinations). This highlights the importance for businesses to invest in the appropriate technologies to flag instances such as these, before they cause financial harm, such as an online cost control portal or mobile app.
Data security should be a priority
With the rising levels of data consumption and exchange, mobile devices are becoming more powerful and integral to day-to-day business, and telco and network operators need to protect more than the data that is being transferred across its systems.
Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends Survey revealed that one of the largest fears experienced by mobile consumers surrounded identify theft, financial use and unauthorised use of sensitive or confidential data – because many had already experienced it.
Security risks are only going to increase in 2020 and as employee working habits change, mobile has become the most prominent hotbed for cybersecurity threats. Businesses, if not already, must invest in a unified security and threat detection platform to monitor and fight against the ever-changing landscape of mobile threats. With changing work habits and on-the-move communications, it is also important to consider a provider that will cover wherever or however your business users connect. This will help companies to fight against any unfortunate consequences that may occur as a result of unprotected or out-of-date systems.
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