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Mobile Data Momentum

Posted on March 2, 2017

Mark Curtis-Wood, Head of Network Services at Nimans assesses the current state-of-play.

How are the current data usage trends affecting resellers?
This time last year we were effectively selling mobile voice connections with data bolted-on, now we are selling mobile data with voice included so the market has flipped on its head. People are consuming more bandwidth due to a variety of reasons, better availability of business applications leading to more mobility and lower costs for international usage. Lowers tariffs have been introduced due to legislation whilst expectations have increased due to wider availability of 4G. It’s a snowball effect. What people do in their personal lives creeps through to their work life. Younger people in particular are now using data for voice via WhatsApp and Skype etc. so inevitably data usage is increasing. We’ve seen a major rise in the last quarter of 2016 where the mean average for mobile data usage has rocketed by more than 38%.

How is this change in data speeds affecting the market?
Increased speed and performance is driving demand because people are relying on mobile data much more. It’s an inherent part of their daily lives. Adoption of mobile applications is accelerating which is then driving developers to produce more sophisticated applications which more people then use. It’s an ever revolving door which is great because it means the ARPU’s are going up again. The consumption of data will inevitably drive up the need for larger tariffs. We are already seeing 20Gb data allowances becoming common and have just introduced a 40Gb and 100Gb tariff to deal with demand.

EU Data Roaming Update/ Brexit impact
All the networks for the last six months have been gearing up for the EU directives in June this year. It’s not concrete that it’s going to happen but its leaning heavily that way. We’ve just launched a series of EU data roaming bundles that enable people to use more data in Europe for significantly less than what they were paying before. We are gearing up for it and the networks are too. Brexit is unlikely to change that. The cat is already out of the bag. Collectively all of the networks would have to backtrack together otherwise it would be commercial suicide if only one reverted back.

Who is doing a good job of integration?
I think one of the key points to emphasise is all mobile data isn’t the same. For me the networks should be doing a better job of advising resellers and that’s where Nimans is helping fill a big gap.

There are a number of cost effective large mobile data tariffs out there such as 100GB for £40. That’s fine but the problem is that if the user is not truly mobile and puts that SIM in a router for example it’s a permanent static connection to just one mast. Eventually the network will choke the connection back to a much lower speed. The key question is to identify what is the end user trying to achieve and what are they using mobile data for. What device is it being put into? Is it true mobile or a fixed device? There’s a big difference in performance and Nimans has just launched a big education campaign around this.

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