The 2015 Ofcom Communication Report was released last week, documenting the advancement in technology that has, over the past year, resulted in smartphones overtaking computers as the primary method of accessing the internet. With a proud tradition of launching game-changing products and services, 24 Seven are in prime position to highlight what this means for business.

Report highlights include:

  • The UK telecoms industry is now worth £37.4bn by revenue
  • Inhabited areas able to get 4G (data enabling signal spectrum) have increased by 17.7% in the last 12 months, as the roll-out continues
  • Commercial applications for a 5G spectrum could be in place by 2020
  • Smartphones are now the most widely owned connected device (66% of households), comparable with laptops (65%)
  • Smartphones have overtaken the laptop in terms of which device users rely on for internet connection
  • Almost half of smartphone users say they’re ‘hooked’ on their device
  • Smartphone ownership continues its exponential rise: 27% up since 2012
  • 66% of adults own a smartphone
  • 89m connected devices in the UK (including ‘machine to machine’ – M2M)

In addition to the rise in mobile connectivity, the report underlined several crucial developments across the telecoms market, including the increase in 4G signal availability and the rise in reliance on mobile technology for both professional and personal communication. Businesses are increasingly seeing 4G as vital to their day-to-day operation, and the spectrum has allowed businesses a viable alternative to fixed line solutions. This has allowed businesses to make themselves more readily available on the move, and made their workforce increasingly flexible. One such effect is that businesses have been able to reduce ‘downtime’ and are now able to work effectively in situations that once may be been impossible – on road or rail journeys for example.

One clear implication of the 27% rise in smartphone ownership since 2012 is that communication is becoming more portable. The relative decline in landline use in recent years is testament to the growing need for businesses, in particular, to be more flexible and pursue the most effective communication solution for their needs. Also apparent is the importance that this solution meets the needs of each and every element of a business: from employees to management, from the consumers it serves to the multiple influencers with which it interacts.

“Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) – a system whereby individuals use their own device for business needs – has seen steady expansion, bringing with it major benefits for companies such as cost control and a greater responsibility on users to look after their devices. As the Ofcom report states, smartphone owners with access to 4G are significantly more likely to access mobile internet than those without, highlighting the need for telecoms providers to keep pace with the call for mobile devices to remain connected. Despite the advantages of BYOD technology for businesses, recent studies suggest that between 55% and 70% of businesses have no BYOD policy. Issues such as security and lack of control are often quoted as BYOD’s main threats, but safeguards and features are available to combat the difficulties, allowing secure and comprehensive options to sync and share data. It is becoming increasingly clear that there is no reason why BYOD can’t become an enabler for business.

With the rapid advancement of technology, remote working with mobile devices equipped to find signal, regardless of their geographical location, is becoming a reality. 24 Seven is addressing this demand for enhanced mobile communication technology with the national roaming SIM, ‘Jump’, which ensures improved connectivity throughout the UK by allowing devices (mobile phones and M2M) to jump to another network when signal drops. We understand the need for telephony services to be both efficient and upfront in order to align with the growing reliance on mobile connectivity; Jump™ can offer practical solutions to address customer needs.

24 Seven MD and Founder, David Samuel commented: “The work of 24 Seven to enable efficient connectivity continues amidst the growth of the telecoms market. With dependency on mobile technology rising for many businesses, there is a balance to be struck, and benefits to be found for both employer and employee. Collaborative working is vital to ensure security, safety and clear boundaries of responsibility that are becoming central to a successful telecoms strategy.”