UK Business Broadband Market Tracker

Key trends, players and products

The report looks at the strategies of 10 suppliers, their product and feature changes over 12 months, their marketing and branding approaches, and assesses the direction of their thinking in this sector.

Business Broadband Market Tracker 3rd Edition

We have continued to monitor announcements by 10 key business broadband players as well their product and feature listings, using this information together with Point Topic’s existing knowledge of the market combined with various third party sources, to update our thinking on what we regard to be their aims and ambitions.

We also look at particular developments affecting the supply of business broadband services, specifically the deployment behaviour of CityFibre and Virgin Media, and the rise of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) coverage via alternative network operators. The role that dark fibre may play in expanding these footprints is also examined as well as the benefits this offers for local and regional business broadband service providers.

Finally product trends are examined in terms of the continued popularity of Ethernet services, broadband speeds, and the main services being built on connectivity. Point Topic defines superfast broadband as having download speeds of 30Mbps and above; ultrafast broadband is defined as download speeds of 300Mbps and above.

Business Suppliers

We have focused our research on the following 10 suppliers and from this established a list of market trends:

  • BT Business and Public Sector
  • Daisy SMB (previously Daisy Retail)
  • Demon (owned by Vodafone)
  • O2
  • TalkTalk Business
  • Unicom
  • Virgin Media Business
  • Vodafone
  • XLN Telecom
  • Zen Internet.

Key Trends

  • Ultrafast broadband products have entered the sector but most offerings are still under 80Mbps. Mainstream marketing has moved to fibre-based products with fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), rather than ADSL, now standard.
  • Applications to increase mobility in the business market are emerging. The suppliers driving this are those with a mobile heritage, namely O2 and Vodafone. Convenience of using one supplier for all a businesses’ communications needs is being promoted by several players. However, mobile services remain separately sold and promoted to fixed line broadband offerings.
  • Collaboration through partnerships and indirect channel programmes is growing in popularity. Different approaches are being taken for a variety of reasons – from gaining better access to particular customer segments such as Virgin Media Business’ indirect sales programme, to O2’s working with partners outside the telecoms sector in order to create new products including those in insurance and security.
  • Various suppliers are focusing marketing and sales efforts on regional cities. Virgin Media Business is doing this via its Project Lightning build, Vodafone through restructuring its sales and support teams, and XLN Telecom via marketing on its website. They join a large number of local and regional business communications providers already addressing the local and regional scene, which are being further enabled by access to CityFibre’s expanding wholesale-only network. This trend also plays into the battle for the high street, which is being targeted by XLN Telecom in particular, which has BT territory firmly within its sights
  • Branding using employees (as well as CEOs) is noticeable by a few suppliers, particularly XLN Telecom, Virgin Media Business, Daisy Group and to a lesser extent Vodafone and Zen Internet.
  • Vertical markets are being targeted by some suppliers covered by this research. Most notable are Daisy Group and XLN Telecom with their focus on retailers and the high street (the latter building on its card payment systems business); others such as BT Business and Public Sector, Virgin Media Business, O2 and Vodafone are doing so at the larger corporate level.
  • After two years focusing on SMEs, several suppliers are now targeting medium-sized businesses. Daisy Group and Vodafone in particular are implementing marketing strategies to reach this customer base. This could be because SMEs are proving harder and more costly to service than expected (in part because they are harder to segment) – lower margin contracts and high numbers to support could be taking their toll. While a smaller group in terms of absolute numbers, mid-sized businesses will take higher value products and have perhaps been neglected as a segment to date.
  • Dark fibre will be used by national and regional business suppliers to fill gaps in their coverage and to reach business parks and other business clusters which are viable once connected in terms of backhaul. CityFibre is also a key enabler here selling dark fibre and duct to larger players such as Gamma, Level 3 and SSE, and smaller, local, regional and niche business service providers, also rolling out their own FTTP infrastructure, giving them an alternative wholesale infrastructure with a full fibre offering.
  • In terms of services, VoIP and cloud offerings are growing quickly, and security and content filtering is seeing strong interest from customers. Apps are beginning to emerge led by O2. The demand for IPv6 is slow, with only tech savvy customers asking about IPv6 addresses despite suppliers offering them.

Get access to the full report and statistics

If you found this free sample useful and think you would benefit from our full 28 page report, please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail simona@point-topic.comThe full report is also available to subscribers of Point Topic’s UK Plus service.

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