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Brexit and VoIP


Will Brexit affect the telecoms industry? At the time of writing this, the one thing Brexit definitely adds up to is uncertainty, without a clear deal or no deal conclusion in sight. However, there are implications for telecoms in whatever form Brexit eventually takes.

These implications concern potential changes to data and telecoms, future regulation and the impact on the UK’s IT industry.

However, what businesses should also note is that VoIP is a robust yet adaptable business telecoms solution, relying on a well-established and rapidly evolving broadband network. The future may be uncertain in some respects, but business will be able to continue to rely on VoIP.

The Impact of Brexit on VoIP Telecoms

There have been predictions of a post-Brexit price hike for VoIP phone systems. Some provider’s costs have already increased as they align themselves with Euro levels of pricing. What business users of VoIP should consider, though, is that this already represents a considerable saving on alternative, traditional networks, and that while there might be some price rises initially, the long-term savings and benefits of VoIP will remain.

What will the European VoIP marketplace be like in the immediate future? In 2018, the UK was at the forefront of cloud adoption of telecoms alongside Belgium and Luxembourg, with Germany and France following closely behind, according to the European VoIP Summit.

We may be out of the EU in 2019, eventually, but we will be doing increasing amounts of business internationally via VoIP.


Broadband After Brexit

European telecoms regulations have tended to prioritise competition and competition, whereas Ofcom, in the UK, has had more of a focus on investment and employment. Independence from European regulatory frameworks might mean more emphasis on these aspects, which would then benefit business infrastructure in the longer term.

Some industry experts suggest that broadband could improve in the UK, with inherent benefits for VoIP, after Brexit, if Ofcom has increased powers to act in the best interests of the country’s broadband. Ofcom will have more autonomy, compared to the present situation, where 90% of its regulatory powers derive from the EU.

MPs have suggested that around six million UK residents have insufficient connectivity, and that the broadband network requires more investment. Ofcom has formally announced a recommendation that BT Openreach become a distinct, separate company in its own right, leaving the way open for a big shakeup of how broadband is rolled out post-Brexit.


Data Regulations

How the future looks for data protection and retention regulation in the UK will very much depend on what kind of Brexit we eventually have. For example, if we leave decisively and have our own data regulations, any multinational companies, or businesses with some sort of operations and dealings with countries in the EU, will subject to both the EU’s GDPR and our own regulations.

If, on the other hand, the UK was to opt for a Norway-style arrangement and join the European Economic Area (EEA), it would need to comply fully with GDPR as part of EU privacy regulations.


The Future of IT


Changes following Brexit could be threats or opportunities for the UK’s IT industry in general, and for VoIP networks in particular. There is the idea that some UK companies might feel forced to relocate their EU data to datacentres in Europe. This could apply as much to tech startups as to major players. Consequently, starting up in tech might then prove more expensive for UK companies, if they are serving consumers directly and they must comply with European privacy laws (even when we are no longer in the EU).

There is the whole issue of network effects. These are where the value of a transaction depends on the number of people carrying out related transactions. It is why certain platforms, such as eBay, end up dominating their markets. The more expensive it is to launch a tech company, the more likely it will be that they cannot take the lead in the marketing race, and therefore leverage network effects to their advantage. Balancing out the potential disadvantages are the possibilities of opening up more opportunities through increased competition, such as the broadband roll-out mentioned earlier.

VoIP and Business Post Brexit


Whatever form Brexit eventually takes, the business landscape in the UK will change, and it will require the right kind of communications to make this change work. VoIP is in the perfect position to support the future because of its scalability and adaptability. Yes, there may be regulatory considerations, and yes there may be changes to pricing, but with these differences come new possibilities also.

Exiting the EU does not mean exiting Europe as a business destination, and nor need it equate to the UK cutting itself off from the outside world. What will matter most of all is that British companies demonstrate that they are open for business, and, with VoIP, they will have the support they need.

The UK Government has provided guidelines for businesses to prepare for the UK leaving the EU.


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