Posted: Thursday, March 28th, 2013
A study recently completed by retail analysts has suggested that the birth of 4G in the UK could have a major impact on retailers; with experts predicting it likely to increase retail spending by up to “£1.8 billion a year”.
The study has suggested that with the imminent widespread release of the technology resulting in faster and more reliable mobile connectivity, consumers will be increasing the number of online purchases whilst on the move.
4G will allow shoppers to browse the web with speeds between five & ten times faster than the current 3G networks, meaning that shoppers are less likely to become frustrated with slow downloads and slow loading pages; an all too familiar experience – especially in densely populated areas such as cites, busy train stations, and of course high streets.
Whilst great news for retailers on the most part, further increases in online purchases could speed up the decline of an already contracting high street. In response, some retailers are seeking to innovate and diversify to enhance customers’ in-store experience.
For example, Topshop and Selfridges in London have now built ‘chill out’ style rooms- giving shoppers (or bored husbands and boyfriends) the opportunity to relax before venturing back out to the busy shop floor. While the likes of Burberry have gone a step further; turning their Regent’s Street store into ‘Burberry Live World’, where they are piloting interactive technology such as 22ft-high screens, 500 hidden speakers, a hydraulic stage, and even RFID mirco-chipped clothes and ‘smart mirrors’. Guest Ipad’s for customers to browse collections and view video content are fast becoming a common feature in brand high street stores.
Of course while the likes of Arcadia group can afford to have snazzy technologies and gadgets in store, and spend huge amounts of money on Google adwords and Big Data, the same is not true for smaller, independent stores. How those will cope in a choppy economic climate and on what is increasingly looking like an even more uneven playing field, remains to be scene.
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Posted: Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
At the end of a complex bidding process, the 4G auction has its victors and has raised £2.34bn for the public purse. About 90% less than the price paid at the 3G sale 13 years ago – at the height of the dot-com bubble. It’s also more than £1bn short of what the chancellor estimated in his autumn statement.
The relatively modest amounts raised by the auction may well be attributable to the limited success enjoyed by EE since launching the 4G service. Results published last week for EE’s financial end of year show contract net additions actually falling by over a third in 2012 Q4. It’s been suggested that this may be down to the way EE have been pricing their data bundles; offering only the same amount of data as on 3G platforms (resulting in customers running out of data early within the contracted month). The recent reduction in the price of EE’s most basic tariff (by £5 a month) may well be a move to remedy these perceived short comings.
There were no real surprises as to the companies who have succeeded in the auction with 3, EE, Vodafone and the new kid on the block Niche (well BT) all getting portions of the valuable spectrum.
It is interesting that BT, who left the mobile sector a decade ago when it sold off BT Cellnet (now O2), is now back in the market with a healthy chunk of the 2.6Mhz spectrum which is best suited to handling high data traffic in cities.
BT has stressed that it is not planning to operate a national mobile network, but it will be using its spectrum to boost its fixed and Wi-Fi networks for businesses and consumers.
Even if the Treasury is disappointed, the auction may be good news for the roll out. We can now expect plenty of competition to offer fast new mobile services across the UK. But those people in 3G “notspots” will be hoping that this time they will not be left out of the faster future. Ofcom CEO Ed Richards has said “we will be conducting research at the end of this year to show who is deploying services, in which areas and at what speeds. This will help consumers and businesses to choose their most suitable provider.”
Ofcom has attached a coverage obligation to one of the 800 MHz lots of spectrum. The winner of this lot is Telefónica who is obliged to provide a mobile broadband service for indoor reception to at least 98% of the UK population (expected to cover at least 99% when outdoors) and at least 95% of the population of the UK by the end of 2017. While the main part of the auction has concluded, there is a final stage in the process to determine where in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands each winning bidder’s new spectrum will be located. Bidding in this final stage, called the ‘assignment stage’, will take place shortly.
Following that stage, once bidders have paid their full licence fees, Ofcom will grant licences to the winners to use the spectrum. Operators will then be able to start roll out services.
By 2030, demand for mobile data could be 80 times higher than today. To help meet this demand and avert a possible ‘capacity crunch’, more mobile spectrum is needed over the long term, together with new technologies to make mobile broadband more efficient. Ofcom is planning now to support the release of further spectrum for possible future ‘5G’ mobile services.
As for Fluidata we expect to be able to launch our own 4G services in the not too distant future, if you would like further details please speak with your Account Manager.
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Posted: Friday, April 13th, 2012
Fluidata Olympic Countdown – 105 days to go.
The Olympics is affecting business’s up and down the county in myriad ways; from those directly working on the planning and logistics, to London retailers likely to capitalise on increase in footfall. As a London based business, and a telecommunications provider, Fluidata are also witnessing many consequences of the games imminent arrival to the capital.
Disruption: Many fibre provisions in London have been severely disputed, starting from as early as last autumn. An embargo on all planned street work, affecting key parts of the London Olympic Route Network (ORN) , was implemented on 1st March 2012, and will run till the 30th of September. Fibre orders across London will also likely see delays after this date – as carriers begin attempting to clear the back log of work. Needless to say, these disruptions have impacted on Fluidata’s ability to deliver a number of planned provisions, however with a strong DSL portfolio at our disposal we have also seen growth in ‘leased line alternative’ orders, as companies plunge for temporary next best solutions.
Demand: Increase in demand for connectivity solutions has been witnessed in London. A number of luxury hotel chains have invested in improved connectivity during the games – expecting both an increase in custom and user demand to view the games from laptop and mobile device.
Travel: With travel in London likely to be severely disputed, we also witnessing organisations looking for remote working solutions – such as reliable home connectivity, 3G connectivity and companywide voice and video provisions. Of course with more people working from home, upstream in the office also needs to improve, once more resulting in increased demand for improved connectivity.
Those companies who are expecting a full complement of staff in the office, are also considering improvements or modifications to their connectivity. As Fluidata has demonstrated in previous months, more and more employees use work internet for viewing events like Wimbledon. The Olympics will be no different and IT mangers are investigating bumping up connectivity temporarily or, if they are a bit mean, locking down the likes of BBC iPlayer.
Trouble?: Many experts in our industry are expecting the UK IP infrastructure to be hit with a ‘deluge of data’ as more people watch, keep up to date, and talk about the games over connectivity devices than ever before. Fluidata have made improvements in our network , and though we expect more traffic than ever before , we are confident of coping with the demands and showcasing our network as one of the best in the industry. How everyone else copes remains to be seen.
We will not know the true impact of the games on Fluidata until after their conclusion, but thus far, it’s throwing up as many opportunities for us as it is potential challenges.
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Posted: Monday, January 16th, 2012
Read our latest opinion piece: http://www.telecoms.com/38592/4g-and-the-race-to-provide-superfast-broadband/
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Posted: Monday, October 3rd, 2011
Trends are prevalent in all industries, not least in IT where technology is perpetually subject to change and innovation.
One of the trends we’ve witnessed over the last decade is the Managed WAN. WAN being an organisation’s Wider Area Network i.e allowing multiple users in multiple locations to communicate as if all part of one network. The WAN, particularly as it expands, taking on more users and applications, becomes a complex beast and The Managed WAN – whether MPLS , IPSec VPN or PWAN in essence offers to make it simple.
However, one detrimental by-product of service providers’ desire to simplify the operation of the WAN, and indeed simplify the way of selling the WAN, is that the Managed WAN has evolved into a packaged product – one incapable of meeting the ever changing and bespoke needs of differing organisations with differing sites and infrastructures.
For example, I’ve spoken to several IT Managers recently who all wished they hadn’t signed up for 3 (or in one case 5) years on their WAN, as head office is soon going to be able to get VDSL and the rigidity of their one contract, one service provider arrangement means they will be unable to benefit.
What technology are you going to be behind the curve on in the next 6 months? VDSL? LTE? Mobile private networks? What might you do when you open up new offices, or bring new home workers on board and their needs don’t fit in with the one solution your WAN ISP might have at the exchange?
Beware of being shoehorned into the 5 year WAN package. Yes it might be opex friendly and the price and technology might look the business now, but it’s unlikely to look that way in a couple of years. My advice is to keep flexible, and look for a provider who offers short contracts and choice of service and technology depending on your business needs.
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