The mobile network industry is a complicated and slightly murky sector, at least from the point of view of the outsider. This is very much the same issue that dogs the fixed-line market, because there are obvious competitive problems with the infrastructural elements that make up any network.
There are four main mobile network providers in the UK, each of which owns its own broadcasting towers in order to provide coverage for its customers. This means that there are thousands of overlapping areas of coverage, but just four companies that hold something of a monopoly over the nuts and bolts of the network, both literally and metaphorically.
Thankfully, some much-needed competition is injected into the market because these main providers are required to allow other companies to piggyback on the infrastructure and sell their own packages to customers from across the country. These secondary firms are known as MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) and while they may be essentially reselling the signals broadcast by O2, Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and Three, they are helping to make sure that the mobile market is less reliant on the monopolised culture of all-encompassing providers.
MVNOs are able to provide users with SIM cards or pay monthly packages with subsidised handsets and then build their own tariffs using the same coverage as one of the major players. This control over the tariff types on offer means that MVNOs can cater to niche areas of the market where users might not find their needs met by mainstream provider packages.
For example, many MVNOs are able to offer cheaper calls to overseas numbers for those who need to regularly make international calls. Meanwhile, there are plenty of MVNOs that are specifically aimed at business mobile users, who have requirements that go beyond what typical consumers will seek.
Of course, the decreasing reliance on networks is not only down to the plethora of options available to modern customers and their ability to pick and choose packages that suit, it is also a result of the varied types of connectivity that are found within modern handsets.
Wi-Fi is particularly useful given that most of the services harnessed by contemporary mobile owners rely on digital data. Web browsing, app downloading, video streaming and much more all need internet access.
In fact, some mobile services are actually causing problems for networks because they are taking revenue away from their traditional areas of earning and redistributing it elsewhere. Mobile VoIP, for example, is problematic because it means that smartphone owners are not making voice calls using the standard network, but are instead using an internet connection to achieve the same goal.
This connection can either be one offered via the 3G or LTE network offered by a major provider’s infrastructure, or it can be provided through Wi-Fi. As long as a network provider is still involved it is making money in some way, since it can charge for data usage or factor this into the price of a monthly contract. However, once everything is channelled through Wi-Fi, a mobile VoIP call will bring in no money for the network and give the user more power to cut the cost of communicating.
It seems that users will still require a basic mobile network infrastructure in order to support services of the future, although the companies responsible for installing and maintaining this will need to work harder and compete more readily in order to keep on making money from the industry. In this instance the user is dictating the future direction of the market rather than the companies at its core.
Daisy Group PLC has a wide range of business mobiles perfect for any industry, ranging from the Iphone 5 to the JCD tough