What has happened in the telecoms world in 2018?

What did you think of 2018? These are the thoughts from Equinox

2018 has been an interesting year, with a number of big impact issues, none bigger than our first one. Here are our opinions on what has happened.


This time last year, everyone was getting all in a tizz about just what they had to do. “GDPR consultants” were scaring the beejeebers out of everyone in two ways:

  1. You’re going to get fined up to 20 million Euros
  2. You cannot say anything to anyone without their explicit consent

Thankfully people are seeing things more clearly now. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has issued plenty of educational material to help you understand what you can and cannot do, particularly around email and other digital communication, including text messages. You can find their Direct Marketing Checklist here.

Data breaches continue to be headline news, particularly if it is a major company, but nobody has yet been fined more than the £500K maximum by the ICO. This is simply because the breaches occurred before the 25th May deadline. However, if you look at the ICO’s website, you can see the progress they are making and it can only be a matter of time before some company gets a huge fine.

GDPR does seem to be going the way of Y2K, but we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you that it isn’t going away and if you choose to ignore it, it is highly likely to bite.


April’s 5G auction raised £1.8billion for government coffers, but there hasn’t been much noise about it since. Trials in Bristol and Greenwich were touted earlier in the year, but results and reviews of the trial seem thin on the ground.

With services due to start in late 2019 or 2020, we will have to wait and see whether the vaulted benefits:

  • Ultra high speed connections to the home and office, without a need for cables
  • Augmented and virtual reality experiences in public spaces
  • Truly on demand services


Gavin Patterson

Depending on which media you read depended on whether you believe he stepped down or was pushed. The recent announcement that Philip Jansen is taking over from the New Year. It will be really interesting to see how things change there.

BT is still pushing ahead with changes to makes savings, with the latest news being that they are selling their fleet management division, as well as its Global Services division.

Rural Broadband

The government’s commitment to providing at least 10Mbps to everyone in the country by 2020 looks more and more likely to become to become a millstone for them. This is particularly problematic in rural areas as the Openreach infrastructure simply doesn’t cater for them. The Country Land & Business Association (CLA) actively campaigns for better broadband for rural business communities.


The telecoms industry has lots of great companies, but, unfortunately, also contains a number of less than scrupulous businesses too.  They have used BT’s plan to shut down its PSTN network as another tool to scare up new customers. We talk to lots of small businesses who have been told that they’ve got to move to VoIP quickly – or face the loss of their landlines.

BT want to turn off their old network by 2025 and we’re sure they would like to do it sooner, but these unscrupulous companies are not helping the business community by scaring them. Companies that invested in new hardware in the last 2-5 years can still sweat those assets a little longer before having to migrate.

Of course, we still recommend that people do migrate to VoIP, but only when the time is right.  The benefits VoIP provides are far more than what is available from a PSTN service, but its got to be done at the right time for the business. With over

89% of UK households still have a landline.

However, many of these are simply there to carry their broadband. A survey earlier this year suggests nearly £0.5 billion is wasted on landlines that never have calls made over them. Mobiles are most people’s communication choice, with Skype, Facetime and WhatsApp dominating the consumer market for internet-based calls.

For businesses it is a different matter. With 2018 expected to end with over 3.5 million business users, a growth rate of nearly 10% and a total penetration of over 15%. The biggest opportunity initially looks to be in the sub-10 user market, although many of these are expected to go to mobile solutions, particularly with the arrival of 5G due next year.

We look forward to 2019 and to seeing what happens. You may think that we’ve missed one big issue from this article: Brexit. We did think about it, but seeing as nobody really know what is going to happen in March, we’ll leave that to our annual looking forward piece.