Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

The 4G Effect

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 15-Jan-2021 14:01:36

Many of our partners are thriving rather than surviving at the moment thanks to 4G. When traditional leased line and broadband business dried up during lockdown, companies turned to 4G to meet the current demand.

We are getting used to working from home and many businesses have invested in dedicated 4G routers for their staff to provide continuous access to fast, reliable internet connectivity.

Students are getting used to learning remotely and the government is investing in both devices and 4G connectivity to help.

M2M/IoT is really taking off, with high demand for smart devices such as digital signage and remote tracking and monitoring.

There has been a digital revolution caused by the pandemic. We have been forced into online shopping, remote working and online classes. We have embraced the technology, upgraded our home broadband and created functional spaces to work, rest and play.

The channel had the flexibility to pivot into new products, the expertise to differentiate and the customer service to pull it off.


Jola supplies a wide range of 4G data including unlimited data packages, multi-network roaming SIMs and eSIMs, fit for purpose. They are keenly priced and designed to work in routers and M2M devices.

Jola offers a range of affordable, intelligent routers, available to order in Mobile Manager. Devices arrive pre-configured with the Jola App, allowing auto-configuration. The premium models also feature Smart Roaming Technology. 

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Topics: 4G

5 reasons to credit check suppliers

Posted by Andrew Dickinson on 17-Dec-2020 11:51:44

Most successful businesses subscribe to a credit rating agency for their prospective customers, but how many credit check suppliers?

You should, because:

  1. If they go bust, they could take you with them.

When a company calls in the administrator, their suppliers will act immediately to mitigate financial risk - often cutting off supply. This may not matter in some industries, but where you have been reselling their service it could be disastrous. In the telecoms and utilities business your customers may suddenly find themselves without service. Not only do you then risk losing them, but you may have breached your own contract and be open to litigation. Even if the administrator is able to sell the contracts to someone else (often another supplier), or where the supplier has step-in, service may still be interrupted, and you may find yourself in a much worse position subsequently.

  1. They may be poorly managed.

Excellent employees, with good judgement, do not choose to work for financially unstable employers. If the quality of your suppliers’ staff matters to you (e.g. where they are selling with you), avoid low credit scores. Also poorly managed companies are often difficult to deal with. If the relationship requires regular purchases and joint support of your customers, you may want to find another supplier.

  1. They are unlikely to be investing in new products and services.

In many markets, companies without money to invest in product development find their core products are quickly commoditised, and they have to compete on price. Gross margins come under pressure and they are forced to cut cost, often staff, in order to keep going.

  1. They may not be in a position to negotiate well.

Their suppliers are not going to be inclined to offer better rates or payment terms to them if they have a poor credit score. More likely they will apply a risk premium to the account, often insisting on payment in advance. This exacerbates the problem of thin margins.

  1. They will be less forgiving, supportive and accommodating.

When an organisation is in trouble and operating off minimum margins, bid support suffers. Whilst they would love to help you win large tenders, they simply can’t afford to take the business on at lower margins. Cash flow is likely to be an issue and they will be more inclined to be heavy-handed with late payers. Good suppliers will be understanding if you suddenly encounter a cash flow issue yourselves, and need some time. Financial unstable suppliers cannot afford to, because a couple of late payers could push them into liquidation.

Of course, there may be legitimate reasons for a low credit score. For example, late accounts, and extraordinary write-offs, which will be corrected in due course. Don’t be afraid to ask your supplier. They may not even be aware, and the low score may be due to an error in the interpretation of their filed accounts.

On the positive side, suppliers with a high credit score and good growth may benefit your business, especially where their success depends on yours. It demonstrates they are doing something right with their products, pricing, processes and support. If a supplier is constantly innovating, and negotiating with their suppliers, this means differentiation for you, and lower prices.

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Topics: Business

Recruiting Salespeople

Posted by Andrew Dickinson on 17-Dec-2020 11:45:43

Salespeople are like hotels in Monopoly. Buy as many as you can afford because the more you have, the more income you generate.

Of course, it’s never as straightforward as that. Under-performing salespeople are a drain on management time and your biggest mistakes won’t even pay for themselves, let alone make a positive contribution to gross margin.

This is why you need to be hiring all the time, especially if you are a growing business in a growing market. If you wait until the position comes up in the budget, or you lose someone, you are likely to miss the best people. Moreover, because you’re a little desperate, you are likely to compromise, take a risk, and make a bad hire.

Continuous recruitment requires a strategy. The objective is simple; whenever a person that fits your target profile starts to look around, they must know about, and consider, your company. Achieving this is a little more challenging.

  1. Maintain an advert constantly – web-site, LinkedIn, Facebook, trade publications. Whatever you use to communicate with your industry. Make people aware that you are growing and always hiring the best people.
  2. Write posts, blogs and articles regularly highlighting the successes of your salespeople and (if you’re in the channel) their resellers. You don’t have to use names, but you want to give prospective candidates a feel for what they will be doing, and a confidence that you will provide an environment in which they can succeed.
  3. Operate a comprehensive, structured and strict recruitment process. This should have several stages, testing different aspects of the behaviours you desire. Include role plays, behavioural interviews and presentations. Understand the minimum requirement for progression at each stage. Do not truncate the process and do NOT compromise.
  4. Make a list of companies where your ideal candidates currently work. Monitor this list for instability: new management, mergers, tough trading conditions. Try and develop contacts in some of these target companies who will let you know when people there may be looking around.
  5. Use your existing salespeople. If they are happy and making money, they will be pleased to tell old colleagues with their previous employer and friends working in your target companies. Encourage this and offer an incentive for them to put people forward.
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Topics: Business

The Smart Meter Opportunity

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 16-Dec-2020 11:34:27

Country-wide schemes, such as the Government’s Smart Metering initiative, have helped drive demand for smart meters in the energy sector, as it helps businesses to track their energy usage and provide more accurate bills. It also helps utility companies to plan resources and improve customer experience.

Smart metering is the collection of remote data using IoT sensors in real-time, without human intervention.

Smart metering provides the tracking of any measurable parameter available on a machine, in a room or an outdoor environment. It is traditionally used to describe the monitoring of utilities such as water, gas and electricity.


Who are MSPs turning to for 4G data for smart meters?

Jola offers the widest range of mobile data SIMs from multiple suppliers, which are easy to order and manage via Mobile Manager.  We offer embedded MFF2 SIMs and low-power SIMs for long-life battery powered devices.

Mobile Manager

Mobile Manager is our online management portal for ordering and managing estates of eSIMs. This white label portal communicates in real-time with 4G networks and can be used by both resellers and their end users. Mobile Manager handles SIM activations, ceases, suspensions, reports, alerts and bolt-ons.

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Topics: 4G, IoT

What is the LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area) opportunity?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 16-Dec-2020 11:23:25

MSPs specialising in transport, logistics, utilities and the public sector already have strong relationships with well-known brands in these sectors. They could also be meeting the LPWAN requirements for metering, tracking and monitoring by working with the right wholesale partner.

LPWAN enables IoT connections for remote battery-powered devices such as smart meters, containers in logistics, or critical infrastructure like fire hydrants in cities. IoT Analytics report that in 2020 this market reached 423 million IoT connections and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 43% to reach 2.5 billion IoT connections by 2025.

NB-IoT is a low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology. Narrowband Internet of Things is one of the new breeds of Low Power Wide Area Network (LP-WAN) standards.

It has been developed for devices which have a long battery life. It provides long range communication, with the ability to connect a wide range of assets.

Gas and electric companies are installing hundreds of thousands of smart meters, which require a low power SIM on a long-term contract. Usage is minimal, costs are a few pence per SIM, however the contract length is typically 5 years plus.

To win the business MSPs need to be able to control vast numbers of cost-effective data SIMs over long periods of time.


Jola is an award-winning, channel-only supplier of business communications, specialising in mobile data SIMs. We are a global eSIM MVNO, providing innovative IoT and mobile data solutions to MSPs, ISPs, IT Support companies and Telecommunications Resellers.

Mobile Manager is our online management portal for ordering and managing estates of mobile data-only SIMs, as well as Voice and Data SIMs. This white label portal communicates in real-time with multiple 4G networks and can be used by both resellers and their end users. Mobile Manager handles SIM activations, ceases, suspensions, reports, alerts and bolt-ons.

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Topics: LPWAN

LPWAN - what’s the opportunity for the channel?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 09-Dec-2020 13:21:49

LPWAN opportunities are hidden mobile data SIM gems nestled in the customer bases of resellers and MSPs. End-users are going to the networks directly for LPWANs instead of going to their trusted MSP but are disappointed by the lack of control MNOs give them over their SIM estates. These deals can be to supply thousands of devices on long-term contracts and are low-hanging fruit for MSPs with existing relationships and control panels.

Who uses this technology?

It is being used in street lighting, smart bins, smart parking and traffic monitoring, as well as parking sensors. Their devices don’t need much power and have a long battery life. The SIMs required for these smart solutions are low-cost, long-life SIM cards, which can be activated and controlled within a central portal.

This technology is also being used in the consumer space with smart metering. Gas and electric companies are installing hundreds of thousands of smart meters, which require a low power SIM on a long-term contract. Usage is minimal, costs are a few pence per SIM, however the contract length is typically 5 years plus.

Warehouses are adopting smart technologies and there are opportunities for resellers to supply LPWANs in warehouse monitoring, within safety devices such as cameras in lifts used by lone workers washing windows at height and in cranes.

In agriculture, LPWANs SIMs are being used in monitoring devices for animals, crops and soil. They need a SIM card with the same lifespan as their device.

What are LPWANs? 

LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network. LPWANs are used to deliver IoT connectivity at low cost, over wide geographic areas, often where there is no local power source, so battery life becomes key. LPWAN deployments are often simple and cost-effective, due to device design and long battery life. With efficient power consumption and battery lifetime of up to 10 years, management costs are low.  It also delivers the added benefit of deep penetration into areas such as basements and underground car parks. The protocols used in LPWANs provide much better wireless penetration so it is possible to get a signal where a standard 3G or 4G SIM wouldn’t be able to.

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Topics: LPWAN

Making Connections

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 09-Dec-2020 13:11:49

Generating leads and winning new business is a challenge, made harder by current market conditions and strong competition. There is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy, but there are things you can try, to develop a strategy that works for you.

The Dream Scenario

A unique proposition which meets a growing need, better than the competition, that cannot easily be copied and can be easily promoted. The reality is that in most growing markets there are global brands competing for business, who have bigger advertising budgets, larger development teams and better pricing. Your job is not to compete head-to-head, but to find your own niche, targeting business not well served by your competition. The companies who require a personal service and who want to build long-lasting business relationships. To do this you need a strong proposition, pricing, service wrap and an excellent team.

Continuous Process

The first thing to consider is a continuous strategy. Successful lead generation campaigns cannot be achieved overnight. It takes hard work, dedication and conviction. New business should not be something you think about when times are hard and ditch for the next new idea.

Knowing your audience

This is the key to success. It is easy to buy a database and throw out a few campaigns, easy to pick up the phone and cold call a few new prospects or send bulk connection requests on LinkedIn. The challenge is understanding who you are talking to, their needs and your ability to meet them. By spending time, not just cleaning your database, but researching your contacts, you can tailor your approach. By ‘knowing’ instead of ‘guessing’ what their current issues are (and they are different at different times and levels), you will be more successful crafting your messaging and planning a strategic campaign to highlight your own unique solutions.

Working together

By joining up your sales and marketing strategies and getting your teams to work together, you will be much more successful. Marketing conduct desk research to understand prospect profiles, but sales actually talk to the audience and have a better understanding of customer needs. By feeding information back into the business you may be able to change your approach. If you share a CRM system with other teams and implement a strict process on documenting market intelligence in the system, each department has the information they need to craft competitive propositions and compelling campaigns.

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Unlimited Mobile Broadband for Homeworkers

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 02-Dec-2020 11:33:51

Unlimited data SIM cards have been available for a while. They are great for homeworkers, who don’t want to worry about how much data they are consuming each month. MSPs prefer to buy wholesale packages fit for purpose, they can control.


Jola supplies unlimited data packages, fit for purpose on 30-day contracts that will work on 5G, where available. They are keenly priced and designed to work in routers and M2M devices.

Jola offers a range of affordable, intelligent routers, available to order in Mobile Manager. Devices arrive pre-configured with the Jola App, allowing auto-configuration. The premium models also feature Smart Roaming Technology.

Suitable for mobile broadband and large scale IoT roll outs, our routers run a unique operating system allowing Apps to be installed alongside the core routing software. There is a range of off-the-shelf Apps that add additional capabilities. A Software Development Kit is available and open to enable third-parties to develop their own applications. To help accelerate IoT projects, Jola can develop Apps on a consultancy basis.

In Demand

Demand for unlimited data SIMs is high at the moment, as is demand for 4G routers. Jola resellers enjoy an uplift in revenue and margin.

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Topics: 4G, JolaMobile, mobile broadband

4G for Back-up

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 02-Dec-2020 11:26:59

Retailers like supermarkets, department stores, restaurant chains and petrol stations are creating private networks to carry financial transactions over IP, from multiple POS systems, often favouring SD-WAN networks with 4G back-up. Depending on their size and the complexity of their requirement, they typically choose a trusted supplier, with experience rolling out and managing solutions in their sector.



They are not sure which network is best in each location, when the 4G back-up will be used and how much data they will use. Sending engineers to site to establish the strongest signal is a time consuming and expensive exercise. In addition, they regularly receive high data overage bills, which can be as much as tens of thousands of pounds a month.


Managed Network Providers are experienced at designing, rolling out and managing solutions however many have struggled with managing multiple in-country 4G suppliers, with multiple manual ordering processes and a lack of visibility across the SIM estate. They have no direct control over SIM assets and cannot aggregate data across countries.

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Topics: 4G, 4G Back-up

Why are there so few female MDs in the channel?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 25-Nov-2020 13:43:15

As a Director of a channel-only business, I am often asked why there are so few females in senior positions in our sector. It is a hot topic and something I have wondered about many times.

Some say the problem starts at school with fewer females being encouraged to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. According to recent UCAS data provided by HESA, 35% of STEM students in higher education are women and only 15% are studying computer sciences.

Others say recruitment is a problem, that not enough females are applying for advertised roles in our sector. 2019 Workforce statistics state that there are now over one million women in STEM in the UK, however the proportion of tech roles filled by women has flatlined at 16% since 2009.

So, what is going wrong? Why are we attracting fewer women than other sectors? Is it our recruitment policies? Or is it something else entirely?

Is there a myth surrounding our industry that you have to be a techie to be involved in it? Or are other sectors more appealing to women?

Maybe we should also look at promoting the opportunities available in our sector to students, apprentices, graduates and professionals in other sectors? Could we do more to mentor and promote those we attract? By working closely with CEOs/MDs/CFOs/CTOs/CMOs could we develop a more diverse management team?

The channel is made up of technical and sales professionals growing their own businesses. Many developed their careers at large telcos, others have only ever worked for themselves.

Looking at the marital status of individuals running organisations across all sectors, many are married with families. The majority have someone at home they can rely on to support them.

Maybe we should be looking at work/life balance and shared responsibilities at home to achieve equality at work. Maybe this shift would help avoid burnout and improve decision making, resulting in more profitable businesses and happier home lives across all sectors?

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Topics: Business

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