5G Roll Out

5G is continuing to roll out

In spite of current restrictions, the major UK networks are continuing to rollout 5G and it looks to be gaining traction with more and more handsets utilising the technology.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of the technology used to deliver the mobile internet.

Its premise is to be up to 100 times faster than 4G and 2,000 times faster than 3G. It won’t replace these, but instead will be another ‘layer’ on top which runs at much higher and faster frequencies.

When will most get access to 5G?

5G is a gradual roll-out, with most of the UK expected to have 5G in 2022.

5G officially arrived in the UK at the end of May 2019, though only two networks – EE and Vodafone – initially offered 5G plans. But since then, all four major networks now offer 5G in selected areas, although coverage is not nationwide yet. Most networks still have a target of 2022 for full rollout.

Find out more about how your business can access 5G technology by contacting us.

Change to VAT Fees

VAT added to mobile termination fees

On 2 September 2020, HMRC published guidance to treat early contract termination fees, including payments on a breach or withdrawal of a contract and liquidated damages, as subject to VAT.

Historically, HMRC’s published view was that payments charged to customers to withdraw from agreements to receive goods or services were not generally for a supply and were therefore outside the scope of VAT.

This affects the business mobile industry as now most payments arising from an early termination of such contracts will now be treated as consideration for a taxable supply and therefore be subject to VAT.

In considering whether payments will now be subject to VAT, HMRC has stated it is irrelevant whether:

  • the original contract has a right to terminate (previously, HMRC distinguished between contracts that contained a right to terminate and those that did not);
  • such payments are described as compensation or damages; or
  • the amount payable is equal to the amount that would have been due had the contract been fulfilled.

Only where there is no direct link between a payment and a supply of goods or services will the payment be outside the scope of VAT. We will keep you abreast of how this might affect your business mobile account.

PSTN Shut Down

PSTN is shutting down – act now!

In 2025 the telephone network will change forever. The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN for short) is the traditional form of  communications dating back to the early 1900s.  The PSTN became a vast network of copper owned and operated by British Telecom.  However, as with many things, the technology has moved on.

Internet based calls and improvements in technology have made this old style of network largely redundant. It is no longer being sold and by 2025 the network is being shut off for good.

What does it mean for your business?  If you are still on ISDN or analogue lines then you will need to move your services to SIP. As this date draws nearer, there will inevitably be a high demand to switch over to this service and so it is best to be prepared and get in early. You can learn more about how Positive Business Communications can help here.

EU Roaming Charges

No Change to EU Roaming Charges

Major UK networks have stated that no changes will be made to free roaming services in Europe now that the UK has left the European Union.

It means customers can continue to use their data, make calls and send texts in the same way they would at home while travelling around the European Union from 1 January 2021.

The statement very much reads that no changes are planned ‘at the moment’, so the situation could potentially change in the future.

Users will have the same minutes, texts and data allowances to use or they will pay the same out-of-allowance or pay-as-you-go rates when in the UK or in Europe, depending on their mobile contract. Fair usage rules still apply.

The UK Government has also created a law to create a default cap on monthly data usage for those roaming anywhere in the world. Under this cap, travellers will be protected from unexpectedly high mobile bills by capping the additional amount charged per billing period at £45.

Many of the providers have been deliberately ambiguous, given the relatively recent trade agreement, so it remains to be seen whether they change tact in the coming months.

UK Broadband coped well with lockdown

Telecoms regulator Ofcom reported that the surge in demand as a result of lockdown has not negatively impacted broadband speeds in the UK.

During the period of lockdown, some providers had been reporting daytime traffic increases of up to 60%, mainly due to a significant increase in home-learning and those working from home. Not only did the UK broadband network cope with the surge in use, it also saw average download speed decrease by just 2% during lockdown.

More people than ever before are now able to access faster broadband speeds than they could in September 2019. The average home speed is now 64Mbps, an increase of 18% on the previous year’s 54.2Mbps.

UK broadband coverage is getting better

As of December 2019, superfast broadband (download speeds of at least 30Mbps) was available to 95% of UK homes – that’s an increase of 300,000 homes compared with September 2019.

Full-fibre broadband coverage increased to 12% from 10% between September and December 2019.

Download speeds of at least 300Mbps are available to 55% of homes, an increase of 700,000 premises in comparison to September 2019.

The rural/urban divide still remains though. Whilst urban homeowners could expect average download speeds of 75Mbps in 2019, this was just 39Mbps for those living rurally.

However, Ofcom reveals that the gap is closing – albeit slowly. 44% of rural lines had access to superfast broadband in 2018, which rose to 56% in 2019.