Green promises are everywhere – every country and every industry vertical are awash with them. Recently we’ve heard quite a bit from the Telecoms Community. BT are aiming for carbon-neutral status by 2045, Vodafone by 2040, AT&T by 2035. The GSMA has published a paper titled A Blueprint for Green Networks, focusing largely on energy supply and usage. As CCS Insight have pointed out, one of the main arguments presented in the report is that there’s a potential conflict between soaring data traffic and industry efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.
5G networks (pre MIMO) are more energy efficient than the legacy systems (2G/3G/4G) they are replacing – including the old copper system in place in the UK, due to be switched off in December of 2025.
A related and fast growing trend is VoIP. VoIP now accounts for a global revenue of $123bn, rising at a rate of c.10% (CAGR) per annum – so likely to be worth $355bn by 2032. Carriers and IT segment global players control just 23% market share (source: futuremarketinsights), explaining the current trend of Carrier / VoIP partnerships springing up around the world.
Carriers seemingly have no choice but to implement VoIP partnerships – it’s a continuing trend, driven by the need for flexible / remote working, costs and the proliferation of compatible IT devices – removing the control exerted by the traditional carrier model.
There are different angles to the trend, country dependant. Consumer VoIP is the fastest growing global segment (c. 13% CAGR) as consumers (especially in the USA) seek to control costs, corporate / SME businesses in Europe look for flexibility, callcentres in Asia look to provide aggressively priced solutions, and so on.
The challenges for VoIP are largely linked with the data aspect that drives the service. Namely, you need an internet connection. There is zero offline functionality, call quality varies massively and internet calling suffers from latency / jitter issues. Try placing a popular messaging service call during peak hours, or on the move and you’ll see what I mean. Bandwidth dependency not only impacts businesses, it also affects calls from the home. if the kids are busy slaughtering their peers online, you’ll suffer too. VoIP also has is nothing in the way of location-based services (emergency or otherwise) to help the consumer experience. Other risks include virus / malware issues, spamming, ‘denial of service’ ransomware and unexpected costs (VoIP to non-VoIP quite often carries an additional charge, as an example).
So, data usage is also not energy efficient as a whole – and in comparison to a traditional voice call from a mobile device – compromised. VoIP also requires additional hardware, anything from a handset / headset to more modern IPPBX system. The power usage and environmental impact of additional / standalone VoIP equipment is under question and largely incompatible with the green intentions – what’s the point of consigning old hardware to landfill and replacing it with new hardware that’ll end up the same way?
Better to halve the amount of hardware required – and use your current mobile handset as your communications hub.
Cellular services offer higher call quality, are by default fully inclusive and suffer from few (if any) of the online-related VoIP security issues. What they are not is flexible – roaming, overseas calling, second-line numbers for business / personal security or tailored services either don’t exist – or are unreasonably costly.
So, VoIP and Cellular communications clearly have their own advantages and disadvantages. The key is combining the best of both worlds.
It is possible. Second line / office numbers can be combined onto one handset to ensure there are no additional hardware costs (for the consumer or the environment). Cellular call quality can be maintained by using the cellular network and you can have a local number for any country you choose, on your mobile. Your data usage need not be impacted, or you calls affected by the data usage of others. Security challenges can be minimised, privacy maintained. You don’t need to pay for overseas calling. Put your landline on your mobile!
conXhub offers the flexibility of VoIP and the quality of cellular.
This article comes courtesy of Nick Muir, CEO of conXhub the UK’s leading telecommunications innovator.