As we wait to see what happens with Brexit... let's look at what the coming months may hold for business phone lines, VoIP, broadband and mobile? Here is our look at what we believe is likely to happen.


In terms of testing 5G the UK lags behind other parts of the world. However, there is activity. EE announced, late last year, the first six cities they would be launching in: London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester. As consumer equipment starts to appear in the shops (due in mid-late 2019), we will truly be able to see the difference between 4G & 5G.

Actual Speeds

Claims of early speeds of 5Gbps, and climbing, will need to be proven. Once the networks are live to consumers and they are being properly load-tested, we expect real-life performance results to be down on the claims.

Although expectations are that there may only be about one million 5G handsets on the streets by the end of the year, it will be interesting to see what speeds they see.

Who'll get to market first?

None of use can use 5G without a device. Every major handset manufacturer is developing something, but who will hit the shops first? Front runners are Huawei's P30 and Samsung's  S10. February's Mobile World Congress Event (25th to 28th Feb.) will give us all an indication of the answer to this question.

Increasing data consumption

Data consumption will continue to climb. 2016 stats show 1.26Gb per user per month, climbing to 1.72Gb in 2017. Although we cannot find stats to prove this, we believe business users are consuming more data than consumers. For example, at the time of writing, I've consumed an average of 7.1Gb of data per month over the last three months.

With the increasing cyber security threat, the use of mobile data, as opposed to Wifi, will increase dramatically. With mobile data becoming cheaper and cheaper, public Wifi simply isn't worth the risk.

The marketing dilemma

There isn't a telecoms company out there that doesn't sell both mobile solutions and internet connectivity - and this will create a dilemma.  For both consumers and SMEs, what products will these companies recommend? The investment that's been made to install fibre, both FTTC and FTTP, is going to be threatened by 5G. For companies with high data requirements, the choice will still be a fixed line internet connection. But for small businesses with data needs; they will have a choice. For areas where high speed internet coverage is still poor, such as rural locations, out of town business parks and even some city centre areas, 5G will provide welcome relief to high cost copper-based solutions.

Demise of the Landline

The number of homes in the UK with a landline has dropped by 3% in the last 5 years[1]. A further 24% of households have a landline they never use[2]. Many of these will simply be because their internet connection is cheaper when they take a landline from their internet provider.

The fact that most people's mobile is usually within arm's length, it is easier to use that device. Unlimited call contracts make it a no-brainer. Smart speakers, such as Amazon's Echo, Google's Home and Apple's Homepod, can connect to each other via the internet. You can talk to other devices in the same house (save's shouting up the stairs when dinner is ready!) and elsewhere. Phoning your clients has never been easier.

With companies such as PwC removing landlines from all their UK offices, it is likely that the office landline will head in the same direction too.

For people who still like using a deskphone, the telecoms industry is developing devices to give them the experience of using a desk phone from their mobile.  Products such as the ZigeeDock mean you have all the features - you just use your mobile to make the calls.

Roaming Charges and Brexit

We may as well end with Brexit. Roaming charges may be rearing their ugly head again, particularly if we leave with no deal.  Although the main mobile operators have said they have no current plans to change, that doesn't mean it will be the same after March 29th. Planned government legislation sets a limit at £45 per month (unless you opt out) and a requirement for the operators to warn you before you go over your data usage allowance. We will wait and see.

Sweden and Finland are the only EU countries in the top 5 telecommunications manufacturers, so we don't know what impact Brexit will have on the costs and availability of Nokia and Ericsson hardware. Of course, we will have to get trade deals into place with China, the USA and Japan as well to put any certainty on the costs of the rest of the biggest manufacturers too!

Much of what we've discussed here are things that will start in 2019, with most of the real impact taking places in the few years after that. They have been happening slowly for the last few years, but they will accelerate significantly over the coming twelve months. And to make the most of the cost-savings and opportunities these developments offer - SME's need to keep a beady eye on developments within the telecoms sector. For more information visit