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A 5G Network and Mobile Phones: Technology Driving the Covid-19 Business Environment

by Imogen Rees

Major telecom providers are increasingly introducing 5G network capability to their catalogue of offerings as the sun sets on 2G and 3G. This is enabling telecom providers to repurpose the mid-band spectrum that originally hosted 2G and 3G for a 5G network. All four of the UK’s core networks – EE, O2, Vodafone and Three currently offer 5G with this expected to grow further into the Mobile Virtual Network Operator market (MVNO’s). MVNO’s piggyback off one of the core networks; so far VOXI (Vodafone), Tesco Mobile (O2) and Sky Mobile (O2) have launched a 5G service with more expected to follow. If your business currently relies on 3G for any function, now is the time to consider upgrading to a 5G network.

The 5G Network Market

British mobile operators have scooped up the 5G spectrum, spending a total of about £1.36 billion in a quick three-day auction process. The mobile network Three managed to scoop up a majority in the spectrum, securing 140 MHz in the UK. Vodafone, O2 and EE fell short, securing between 80-90 MHz each, a disappointing outcome for the providers. This could impact their 5G network market strategy, as the International Telecommunications Union recommends a standard of at least 100 MHz – a level that Vodafone, O2 and EE fall short on. This gives Three an enviable advantage in the 5G network market, enabling them to be a real asset to many businesses.

A 5G Network on the Street

With a 5G network, whatever we can do on our smartphones can be done much quicker with less likelihood of losing connectivity or buffering. For employees always on the move, a 5G network offers greater security that they can continue working from anywhere. The UK Government is driving money into 5G with the launch of a £4m competition exploring ways to improve access for mobile companies to use publicly-owned buildings and curbside infrastructures such as CCTV poles, traffic signals and even bus shelters to host 5G radio equipment, boosting coverage nationwide. The aim of this competition is to speed up the rollout of 5G as well as improve coverage nationwide – especially with the PSTN switch off approaching in 2025.

New Generation

5G is the next generation of mobile internet connection and is expected to broaden the role that mobile technology plays in the wider society by enabling thousands more ‘smart’ devices on the street which connect to the internet and each other. This will pave the way for new virtual and augmented reality services and help drive the take-up of new innovations such as autonomous cars and remote healthcare technologies.

How Does the 5G Network Impact Businesses?

Each year, many tech enthusiasts tune into the annual Apple event and await the announcement of the latest Apple devices. Apple is a driver in improvements across the industry as their groundbreaking technology has driven other’s, such as Samsung and Google, to improve their smartphone offering in order to stay relevant. For businesses, this means that the capabilities of mobile phones are endless. With improvements in connectivity, the enhanced design of handsets is inevitable; bigger screens; improvements in battery life; mobile wallets; and camera’s competing with traditional SLR’s. Businesses can utilise this technology and combine traditional communications with modern work.

Flexible Working

For a business that operates a hybrid style (between home and the office), business-mobile phones could be a better alternative for staff, allowing flexibility and freedom to work from anywhere. Physically they would still be able to work the same, however, their connection would come through a data SIM instead of relying on a Wi-Fi connection.

Handsets

Whether it’s a smartphone or a rugged phone your business requires, there is a wide range of handsets to choose from. Recently, there has been an uptake in the number of rugged phone users. As high-end smartphones continue to move toward large displays without a bezel, they are perceived as more fragile devices, hence the rugged handset becoming a favourite option for those working in the construction or engineering industry. These devices are designed to withstand damage from water, shock, dust and vibration, therefore making them a suitable option for this industry. Improvements to the design of smart consumer rugged phones have made these devices more attractive without compromising their ruggedness. This makes the devices more acceptable for business and personal use.

Security

In addition to greater flexibility in working, a mobile data connection is more secure. For employees that travel for work, finding a fast, reliable and secure connection can be difficult, but, with a business mobile, they can tether the phone connection to their laptop and continue working whilst on the move. Fortunately, this type of connection is more secure, data sent via a 4G or 5G connection is encrypted and far safer than Wi-Fi – an easy target for cybercriminals.

Mobile Tariff Optimiser

A mobile tariff optimiser continually adjusts a client’s tariff so they are always at the best rate for their usage. We run this through Three – the UK’s leading 5G network. This helps with indoor and outdoor coverage, especially in rural areas. Our mobile technology can produce premium speeds of up to 450 Mbps, the average download speed being around 103 Mbps, this enables us to offer our customers increased speeds and a more stable mobile data connection. Around 71% of customers on SIM only plans are overpaying for data they don’t use. By playing it safe and going for the higher usage tariffs businesses are overpaying for data they simply are not using. The Mobile Tariff Optimiser allows us to adapt to actual usage rather than predicted. Everyone is selling unlimited data plans, but this allows us to create bespoke tariffs based on your individual usage, so you can be confident you are on the best tariff.

How does it work?

You purchase an initial base tariff, typically unlimited calls and texts with a pre-agreed data GB usage. In businesses, the average data usage per month is 2GB – much less than expected. However, there are months where usage increases over the tariff amount. At this point, the optimiser automatically adjusts the tariff in line with usage avoiding overcharges (known in the industry as bill shock). Why is this beneficial? A mobile tariff optimiser provides peace of mind because you know what charges to expect and you avoid being locked out of using your mobile. This reduces disruption and increases operational efficiency, allowing you to communicate freely and use data without limitations.

At UK IT Networks, we have strong partnerships with Three, Vodafone, EE and O2 to bring you a mobile network built exclusively for the UK business market. Our mobile network packages include flexible tariffs, UK customer support teams and our one-bill solutionSpeak to a member of our team today by calling 0344 326 2150 or email enquiries@ukitnetworks.com

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