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In 2016 there were only 2.5 billion smartphone users in the world, meaning just 33.58% of the global population owned a smartphone device. Fast forward to 2020 and there’s now 3.5 billion smartphone users making up 45.15% of the global population.

With such an exponential rise in the past few years and with the coronavirus pandemic forcing many people to work remotely; industry experts don’t believe that figure will be slowing down any time soon.

Vinny Robertson, Account Director at Samsung, said: “I think, as people start to move further away from the office and away from their legacy desktops and heavy laptops, the need for light portable devices that give the type of functionality they need whilst remaining secure are really key. I think where some people have perhaps shied away from enhancing their experience with a smartphone that will now become more of a requirement for people that want more as they do more on their phone.

“While many previously thought that working away from the office simply wasn’t possible, more and more are realising now that they can be just as productive from home or on the move, if not more so, and so many are discovering that, rather than requiring multiple devices, they have everything they need to work effectively on just a smartphone or a tablet.

“5G is also clearly going to become more relevant if people are spending more time mobile. That need to deliver and connect to multiple streaming sites, jump on and off video calls and ensure there’s a good constant access to fast data. Whilst not being everywhere, the need is rising so expect to see that become really prevalent as we move through this year and into 2021.”

The ability to work from a mobile or from wherever employees might be is now vital, following the coronavirus pandemic which engulfed the world in 2020. When offices closed in March, businesses were forced to readdress their strategies and how its employees worked. Many businesses sent employees to work from home and, according to recent studies, it could well be a permanent solution.

According to video conferencing platform Whereby, 82% of businesses are considering allowing more staff to work remotely on a permanent basis making mobile devices arguably essential in an ever-changing business world.

However, mobile industry leaders aren’t shying away from the challenge ahead and, instead, are facing it head-on. Maria Fernandez, SMB Trading Director at O2 said: “We know that all businesses from a small to a medium to a large have been all impacted by COVID-19.

“At O2 we will continue to work really hard with the government and businesses to realise the importance of rural connectivity and, of course, 5G, to accelerate the benefits of supercharged productivity.

“We’ll also be helping customers, whether they are consumers or businesses, to realise the potential of flexible working and full productivity. I believe it is our responsibility at O2 to help our customers how to use technology and how to make the most of it so they can enable flexible working.”

In terms of the future, businesses will adopt different strategies depending on the industry it works within but, telecoms leaders strongly believe that mobile will be at the centre of plans for those businesses looking to thrive in a post-COVID world.

Julien Parven, Marketing Director at Daisy Communications said: “As the new norm becomes the norm, businesses will need to adapt and will need to find measures and ways of managing a fully flexible remote workforce.

“Looking ahead we believe that businesses will be operating virtually but for those that fail to adapt, that decision may prove costly, may even prove terminal. However for those that plot their own digital transformation there’s opportunities to be won and there’s gains to be had.”

Whatever path businesses carve out for themselves, mobile providers are there to support, advise and assist where possible as Vinny explained: “I think people are learning just how productive they can be working solely from a mobile devices.

“We’re really proud to be playing a part that future and we’ll continue to deliver the innovation, the tools and the support in whichever way we can to keep the UK and businesses around the world the chance to stay ahead of the curve.”