Top Five Telco Industry Trends for 2021 and Beyond
The telecom sector continues to be at the epicenter of growth, innovation, and disruption due to new technologies that continue to filter into the market. Yes, this vibrant industry is gearing up for some technological advancements on a massive scale. So, what is the telecommunication industry’s current revenue growth statistics?
As per a recent global telecom industry report, in 2020 there are around 7.7 billion active mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide, an enormous rise from 3.3 billion just 5 years ago. Moreover, with the rapid increase in online video consumption, global IP traffic is forecast to grow to nearly 400 exabytes per month by 2022.
What are the recent changes in the telecom industry?
Gone are the days when telecom companies used to depend solely on manual operations for various functionalities such as customer engagement, sales, marketing, etc. As disruptive digital trends continue to impose transformational changes in the global telecom market scenario, it is imperative for market participants to be equipped with new-age technologies and innovative strategies.
Recently, there are many changes in the telecommunication industry which can be easily attributed to the new technologies in telecom industry. In 2021, the adoption of the latest industry trends such as 5G, AI/ML, and IoT will increase and will shape the future of the telecom industry. A systematic blend of operational and technological changes will help drive superior customer engagement in the telecommunications industry.
So, what are the major trends that will transform telecommunications in 2021? Read on to explore the opportunities of some of the top-notch technologies and other latest trends in the telecom sector that could have a big impact in the year ahead.
Emerging technologies that will transform telecommunications in 2021
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)
AI/ML is one of the most significant telecom tech trends for 2021. According to Forbes, “telecommunications is one of the fastest-growing industries that uses AI/ML in many aspects of their business from enhancing the customer experience to predictive maintenance to improving network reliability.” Just as the case of any other industry, the telecom industry too generates vast amounts of data every day. Statistical data is critical for the growth of any business and therefore with the usage of the right tools can generate valuable information on customer behavior and other meaningful insights. Artificial Intelligence is one such tool that holds the potential to boost the digital customer experience.
AI-driven tools such as chatbots and virtual assistants can be used to ensure that the customer support services run seamlessly. These tools aid in providing personalized customer engagement services based on customer history. In addition to customer service, AI/ML also enables to optimize the network quality by predictive maintenance and smart impact analysis. AI-based analytics enables DSPs/telcos to predict future industry trends and continuously assess their services for bugs or pitfalls.
The ever-growing demand for high-speed connectivity has accelerated the need for the next generation of networks. Being the most recent iteration of broadband connection, 5G is the latest telecom industry trend, which has a lower connectivity cost, greater speed to move more data, and low latency with enhanced user experience than the 4G network. 5G which stands for 5th generation has finally moved from its hype to reality as some of the leading telcos released their commercial 5G capabilities.
With the telecom industry advancing towards virtualization, Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) allows service providers to speed up 5G deployment through its open architecture and promises greater interoperability. Currently, the telecom companies across the world are in the development phase for 5G networks with the expectation of increased implementation of 5G in 2021. 5G will accelerate innovation and transform multiple sectors across the globe. However, it will also bring new security challenges for the telecom ecosystem, which needs to be handled in a new way.
DevOps is not a new term in the telecom ecosystem. However, it’s becoming an important model as the telecom space is rapidly shifting towards virtualization platforms. By implementing virtual network functions (VNF), telecom operators are continually delivering new services and functionality. Now, the stability of the network should be preserved while accommodating these changes. Here is where DevOps comes into the picture and helps these disparate groups to operate efficiently in a synchronized way.
Being one of the top telecom trends, the efficient DevOps implementation can have benefits such as efficient control over the network, reduced CAPEX, elimination of manual configuration, network scalability and resilience, real-time orchestration of network resources, and reduced time to market for new apps, solutions, etc.
The cut-throat competition and ever-increasing demand for seamless connectivity are the biggest challenges that burden the telecom players. But with this smart telecommunication technology, telecom companies can simplify the handling of operational tasks. Intelligent Automation is the technology that allows us to automate the business process by configuring software robots or bots. They not only slash the waiting period that is typical to traditional means of customer services but also ensures a dramatic cost cut and uncompromised customer experience.
Nowadays, Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are leveraging Intelligent Automation capabilities for significant cost reduction, unmatched data quality, improved customer service, and superior operational efficiency. A report by Forrester suggests that Intelligent Automation will be worth a $2.9 billion industry by 2021 making it the perfect fit for the telecommunications industry as it continues to grow and develop on the global front.
Just like any other telco tech trends mentioned earlier, there is tremendous economic potential for network virtualization. The introduction to network virtualization has transformed the telecommunication landscape by building software-centric network services. In this software-oriented approach, purpose-built hardware elements are replaced with software, which runs as a virtual machine.
As per a recent report, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 30% through 2021. By choosing new technologies such as cloud and virtualization, communication service providers have been able to dramatically cut costs and increase business agility. Even though many telecom operators are reaping the benefits of deploying NFV, it’s high time for other players to capitalize on this clear market opportunity.
These are the recent trends in the telecom industry that could create a massive wave of transformation. Telcos need to leverage more of these emerging trends in the telecom industry that hold the potential to revolutionize the digital customer experience. They truly are game-changers that are worth investment for each IT service providers for telecom. It is highly recommended to partner with experienced consulting, technology, and network services providers that are singularly focused on the DSP ecosystem.