Hints & Tips, Partners

5G in 2022, Are You Ready?

5G, the fifth generation of mobile networks has been around for a few years already. At the end of last year, 2021, 79 nations have either commercialised 5G or are conducting 5G trials. The UK, however, is one of the most developed markets in Europe in terms of 5G rollout, but what does this mean exactly? This blog will further explore the state of 5G in the UK, how it’s changing the likes of data usage and how this brings new opportunities to businesses across the UK, before looking at 5G comparisons across the globe. 

Currently, in the UK, the four main mobile operators have already launched 5G, EE was the first to do so, launching its 5G services back in May 2019. Currently, EE’s 5G network is available in over 160 towns and cities, Vodafone 127, O2 194 and Three over 100. Smaller MVNOs such as Voxi and Giffgaff have recently started offering 5G plans, although the location of availability is dependent on the host MNO. Speed tests carried out in 2020 found that the UK’s 5G speeds were nearly four times faster than 4G. However, due to the limited availability of spectrum, it was not quite as advanced as Ofcom, the UK regulator had set out. Therefore, in 2021, Ofcom held a 5G spectrum auction, with frequencies available leading to an 18% increase in the region’s mobile capacity. With the expansion of the 5G spectrum, mobile broadband has improved and boosted 5G deployment, and with it, 5G speeds. If you’re still unsure on how fast 5G is, 5G offers access to theoretical speeds of 100 Gigabits a second, it takes 300 to 400 milliseconds to blink, so if you blink, you will miss it! As technology progresses this year there will be a greater demand from businesses and consumers to migrate to 5G capable hardware such as smartphone and routers.

The fast adoption rate, speed, and low latency of 5G is driving data usage. In 2020 alone, UK 5G users consumed 2.5x more mobile data than 4G users driven by video, gaming, and higher resolutions all on mobile. In an age of increasingly advanced smartphones, businesses and consumers will only continue to increase the amount of data they consume on mobile devices. 5G users are becoming more prone to using their data connections for tethering, as connections are often multiple-times faster and more reliable than fixed-line broadband. With 5G holding such a high device capacity, it becomes a great option for business; it is estimated that 5G deployments can support 1,000,000 connected devices per 0.38 square miles (243 acres), in comparison, 4G can only support 2,000. 

With 5G, business networks can undertake simultaneous data transfers, flexible working and allow feasible remote working, especially in current COVID times. The lower latency offered by 5G can improve the functionality and security of devices by its ability to boost encryption and by reaching real-time access, meaning complex tasks will be performed quicker with fewer interruptions. With the PSTN Switch off in 2025 looming, businesses need to remain competitive and ambitious by equipping IoT and 5G devices promptly. In terms of the economic benefits, O2 state that the UK could benefit from time and productivity savings of £6 billion per annum, suggesting that the investment of 5G devices is indeed worthwhile. Such a surge in mobile data usage on the new spectrum presents a new opportunity for operators to monetise the billions of pounds being invested into 5G, securing assets from the uncongested spectrum. Construction and Agriculture industries could see benefits almost 10x higher than the costs associated with 5G upgrades, through increased efficiency, improved safety, compliance, and enhanced devices. For example, field conditions can be more accurately monitored through an improved network of 5G data-collecting sensors. 

As 5G is still new to the world of business in the UK, most networks providers are keen to grow their 5G mobile data networks and are happy to provide companies with the network support they need, as well as a comprehensive range of solutions for their business customers. With the deployment of 5G also comes the need for 5G education, teams cannot make the most out of the new technology and perceived benefits. 5G education will help businesses understand how the network’s benefits can support business goals and drive growth; it will become an essential skill for a thriving and successful business. 

The UK’s 5G deployment is a close contender behind the US, accounting for a 57% share of 5G connections, however, America is seeing a slower rollout across the country. This year is expected to see two-thirds of the country’s population covered with a 5G service. The slower rollout in the US is said to be down to; the availability of space in the spectrum, the deployment of new network equipment that isn’t manufactured in the US, meaning purchases take longer, and the lack of apps driving the usage of 5G. Although most large mobile operators in the US, such as AT&T and Verizon are offering 5G, the location of availability is limited to urban areas and main traffic routes but is expanding across the country. European countries are expanding their 5G service at a completely different pace due to these areas being densely populated, in Germany alone Vodafone’s 5G network reached 30 million people at the end of 2021. Europe has quickly gotten onboard with 5G deployment compared to the US; however, they cannot simply be compared in terms of their share of 5G connections due to the different sized populations and rollout of cellular network towers across the countries.

It is clear to see that 5G’s rollout across the globe is not in one constant development but fragmented by country because of sizing and population density. The UK’s 5G deployment is developing constantly and becoming a more viable option for consumers and businesses across the country. With constant advancements in technology and the PSTN Switch Off looming, 5G mobile data and IoT devices are becoming the future of communication. 

As an award-winning partner of the three leading UK networks (Vodafone, O2 & EE), Cellhire provides unbiased advice and a large choice of connectivity options to really maximise success. Cellhire helps grow and create new revenue opportunities for channel partners.
Have you thought of adding mobile to maximise revenue? 
Visit: https://www.cellhire.co.uk/partners

Hints & Tips, Partners, UK News

PSTN Switch Off 2025 – What Opportunities are Arising?

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) allows for traditional fixed line telephony over copper telephone lines using analogue signalling. In addition to traditional voice services, many specialised services that use the PSTN will need to make the move to digital solutions before the December 2025 PSTN/ISDN switch off and September 2023 “Stop-Sell” deadlines. It’s estimated that over 2 million local UK businesses will be impacted, creating a surge in opportunities with the move to completely digital. This blog will highlight the different opportunities that have arisen, how different digital solutions compare and how known connectivity issues can be solved with new advancements. 

Many businesses believe the decision is strictly between switching to Hosted Voice (VoIP) or mobile, however, it’s not just a question of which solution to switch to, it’s finding the correct match to how a business operates. For larger businesses, VoIP could be considered a more practical solution, allowing multiple devices to be integrated, whether landline or mobile, and can reduce the downtime caused by repairs or issues with the copper wires. Many, however, have concerns over the overall cost, security, reliability, and QoS of a VoIP solution versus the perceived benefits. For many businesses such a heavy investment may not be needed.

The shift to mobile in recent years has seen ‘Mobilepreneurs’ on the rise, with over 31,000 new smartphone-based businesses predicted in the next 3 years, according to O2 Business. With micro-businesses making up 96% of all businesses in the UK, the rise in reliance on mobile voice and data services could lower the cost of tariffs even further as mobile becomes a more widespread option for small businesses across the country. With the addition of mobile applications that mimic traditional PBX functionality, businesses of all sizes could see a cost-benefit of switching to a ‘mobile only’ communications strategy.

With these fundamental changes, what opportunities arise? VoIP is still a choice for solutions where voice is needed such as lifts comms and door systems, however, there are key opportunities in specialised services, by utilising 4G/5G mobile data connectivity instead. Primary services running on ADSL can be replaced with a stronger data connection. Street furniture, such as traffic lights, causes stress, time and demand heavy costs when digging up roads for fibre. Instead, there is a massive opportunity to switch to M2M IoT mobile data connectivity through multi-network SIMs in place of the old L2TP to eliminate unnecessary cost, time, roadworks and disruption. Examples are already out there, with businesses using intelligent mobile data to support major government public body’s to move street furniture endpoints away from the PSTN and to monetize these, often receiving millions in revenue. The UK security system industry is thriving with new opportunities waiting for change, it’s largely made up of IoT devices that rely on the PSTN and is worth £1.5bn alone. Using M2M IoT mobile data can not only aid the transition but provide better benefits and control for businesses across the country, while delivering greater financial opportunities for providers. Construction, healthcare and even the alarm industry are all in need of new connections due to the switch off and are some of the biggest industries across the UK, with 1 million alarms alone waiting to be migrated from the PSTN. The advantage of mobile means customers can be connected right away, avoiding fibre installation delays, and preventing the anxiousness of the 2025 switch off and 2023 “stop-sell” deadline looming upon us. 

With access to multiple mobile networks, M2M IoT SIMs can prioritise the strongest signal during network outages and can switch automatically, preventing maintenance issues or loss of connection. Despite 95% of the UK having access to fibre broadband, it’s not always the right solution, especially for businesses who need to connect sites right away, or those wanting to avoid long contract commitments. Legacy issues surrounding signal strength and QoS in remote locations are solved, as multi-network M2M IoT SIMs will connect to the strongest signal available and are network agnostic. Meaning if a cellular network problem occurs, it will simply automatically swap to the next strongest alternative network. Concerns on data caps and the amount of control over the data usage can be squashed, the level of customisation and the management tools available with M2M IoT SIMs will leave businesses and providers with more control and flexibility than before. 

To conclude, it’s not a question of which Hosted Voice (VoIP) or Mobile solution looks better or is more affordable, it’s about how the solution will match with a business’s operations and what benefits it will bring. The vast opportunities brought about by the switch off, not only for voice solutions but for all other specialist services, provides great financial openings and benefits waiting to be grasped. M2M IoT Mobile Connectivity is a massive opportunity for the Channel. Partner with Cellhire and discover new solutions to grow your M2M IoT revenue. Start getting involved today.

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