UK Telecoms bill: What happens next?
In light of the recently passed Telecommunications (Security) Act, it’s clear that the UK government has finally caught on to what we have been saying for some time - the telecoms industry is in need of a significant shake up.
Despite the various red flags that telcos across Europe have been waving for a while, it has still taken legislative intervention to get the revamp off the ground. Nevertheless we remain optimistic that the new laws will lead to a more organic shift in the zeitgeist in the future. The changes - forced or not - are completely necessary to a healthier environment for our industry to flourish in.
So where are we now and what does the future hold with this legislation in place? Let’s take a look!
The current landscape
The current state of telcos in the UK lives off an infrastructure that was once majority state owned and has undoubtedly become outdated. It’s expensive and time consuming to develop, however the price of backing a system that lacks innovation for so long has proved even more costly.
This was shown to be true from our recent consumer survey where 64% of customers claimed they would be likely to switch phone providers within the next three years if telcos don’t invest and act fast. Which is why the passing of the Telecoms bill is such a positive step. The government has intervened with a £50 million cash injection to accelerate innovation within the industry - such as having 5G as the standard offering for all customers.
It almost seems like the rest of the tech world is advancing on a daily basis, and telcos simply can’t afford to fall behind any further. Take fintech for example, the challenger brands disrupted the older banks by offering better services to customers and if telcos don’t move soon, the same will happen in this industry.
Why a technical change doesn’t necessarily mean a cultural one?
As the bill shows, a technical change in the law that can be implemented overnight is a start, but it’s important that it’s not seen as ‘job done’. It’s incredibly hard to instil cultural change.
And more crucially, faced with employees that are used to working in a certain way. A cultural change can take decades to fully integrate - so it’s a case of the sooner the better to ensure a brighter future.
Challenges and opportunities for 2022
The telecoms industry in the UK, and across Europe more generally, needs to be more strategic in 2022 and for many more years to come. It’s easy to just throw financial backing behind a cause and hope for the best, but more needs to be done to ensure we’re starting to innovate at the same rate as other tech industries.
Once the big players in the telco industry realise that innovation is inevitable, they should invest heavily in evaluating their current market, tailoring and improving their services, advancing their tech and infrastructure, and ultimately meet the standards and requirements of a customer in the modern age.
Businesses need to ask their customers what they really want rather than haphazardly going from one tactic to the next. Everyone needs to have their niche, either as the best in class, or as a service provider that appeals to a targeted group. Telcos need to transform digitally, whilst still finding their way forward with innovation and placement in the marketplace.
Operators need a clear plan
However, change shouldn't just happen for the sake of it.
A lot of brands get by with praise for the bare minimum. For example, we see a lot of telcos talking about implementing 5G, but no-one is asking why? Why does it matter and what does it mean to the customer? Those are the conundrums that need answering for consumers in order for them to really feel as though their needs are being catered to for their own betterment.
It won’t be easy by any stretch, nevertheless, this is an encouraging start. Now the bill has been passed, the next steps need to be continued innovation, courage to change and collaboration. Meanwhile, other countries should look to the UK to find out the impact of the bill - perhaps they will see something that could be applied closer to home.