As technological change rapidly accelerates and new tech-savvy players enter the market, digital disruption is quickly becoming the new normal for telecom operators. Every aspect of the telecommunications industry is redefined to address the ever-changing telecom trends — from the way networks are designed and built, to the content flowing through them, to the channels used for access.
With new technologies like 5G and IoT, telecom service providers will be looking for ways to power the increasingly connected world more effectively. Hence, telecom industry trends will include, among other things, a focus on AI-enabled telecom solutions, efficient network management, infrastructure sharing, and more.
So, let’s cut to the chase and have a look at the six critical trends in telecom that are predicted to set the pace for the telecom business development:
- Infrastructure sharing
- 5G as a basis for the platform economy
- BSS/OSS modernization and a shift to microservices
- Network disaggregation and virtualization
- AI and intelligent automation
- New powers at the edge
Emerging trends in telecommunication sector
By 2023, the number of IoT-enabled devices is set to increase to 3.2 billion. The exponential growth of connected solutions and the vast amount of generated data will put enormous pressure on networks, requiring high-speed and high-bandwidth 5G connections.
5G deployment, however, is a costly endeavor and requires substantial investments in order to meet infrastructure requirements. To save costs and make rollouts feasible, telecom operators may consider sharing infrastructure, both passive (physical sites and towers) and active (antennas and transceivers), initiating one of the most promising telecom industry trends. Those that manage to employ network sharing stand to reduce their total cost of ownership by up to 30%. The savings can then be geared towards product innovation and improving customer service.
Shared 5G networks are already gaining traction as popular trends in telecom. Telefónica and Vodafone are planning to extend their network sharing partnership to include 5G. Proximus and Orange Belgium have also teamed up to create a shared mobile access network, accelerating digital connectivity and improving coverage.
5G as a basis for the platform economy
Today, there are at least 113 operators offering commercial 5G services across 52 markets. At the forefront of rolling out 5G networks is Vodafone Group PLC, which alone has launched 5G operations in 13 markets worldwide.
Commercial 5G service launches worldwide
Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence
There is no denying that 5G with its potential to unlock huge economic and social gains will be ahead of the top trends in telecommunication sector. With the speed and scale promised by next-gen connectivity, 5G will become the foundation for the platform economy — a digitally enabled new economy that utilizes technology frameworks and platforms to create value.
The global 5G value chain will generate $3.6 trillion in economic output and support 22.3 million jobs in 2035.
To secure the first-mover advantage, telecom operators are exploring and investing in 5G networks to provide greater bandwidth, higher user density, and lower latency. Time is yet to show what amazing things 5G apps will be able to do, but industrial IoT solutions have vast service potential in a variety of domains.
- Digital factory solutions will use intelligent robotic automation, paving the way for the fifth industrial revolution.
- In retail, 5G will enable an omnichannel revolution by bringing physical and virtual worlds together — think smart shelves and dynamic displays, AR and VR-powered experiences, autonomous stores, connected pop-up stores.
- Telemedicine solutions will enable healthcare providers to deliver the right care at the right time and improve patient outcomes.
- The transportation industry will benefit from increased control and real-time visibility into logistics operations and supply chain management.
- In the education technology space, 5G has the potential to power more effective, interactive remote learning and make classrooms smarter.
Telecom software development
Drive new revenue streams and get a competitive edge in today’s digital world by putting technology innovation and trends in telecommunication sector into practice
BSS/OSS modernization and a shift to microservices
The increased focus on microservices as a way to build up business agility and modernize OSS/BSS is one of the telecom trends 2021. The key challenge in improving operation and business support systems is to transform them into a standardized, open, and flexible architecture. Applying a microservices approach combined with DevOps practices is the best way to ensure that.
A microservices-based architecture enables telecom operators to break down complex IT infrastructure into individual, easily manageable components. Thanks to this, a microservices-based architecture is more flexible and easier to scale compared to a monolithic one. In the long run, the benefits that make microservices stand out of other emerging trends in telecommunication sector will include the following:
- Accelerated innovation
- Faster time-to-market for new services
- Improved scalability
- Easier maintenance
- Effortless customization
- Seamless integration with third-party services
Learn how an established VoIP company capitalized on our expertise and current telecommunication trends to re-engineer their monolithic system
Network disaggregation and virtualization
As consumers continue to embrace connected devices, applications, and services, the size and complexity of network infrastructure are making telecom operators revisit their architecture paradigms and adopt the latest trends in telecom industry — new network technologies — to improve efficiency.
SDN and NFV emerge as new network technologies and telecom trends 2021 with great transformation potential. In software-defined networks (SDN), the control plane is separated from the data plane, which enables dynamic network configuration, improves resource utilization, and increases network agility. Network function virtualization (NFV) allows telecom operators to extend their capabilities and build complex IT applications by abstracting any network function from proprietary hardware and managing it as a software module.
As current telecommunication trends, SDN and NFV offer multiple benefits over traditional networks, including greater flexibility and agility, reduced CapEx and OpEx, easier configuration, and no vendor lock-in.
AI and intelligent automation
Artificial intelligence keeps disrupting global industries, and telecommunications is no exception. Telecom service providers already leverage machine learning techniques to promote automation, accelerate decision-making, and increase operational efficiencies.
AI solutions are among telecommunication trends 2021 and will keep evolving, with the aim to drive greater network automation and gradually move to fully automated processes from site deployment to service provisioning. In addition, advanced analytical capabilities of AI will enable operators to build highly intelligent networks and improve customers’ quality of experience. By using AI-powered network analytics, service providers can forecast network traffic, optimize performance, and predict and resolve network errors.
AI in networks: Status of deployment of applications (not exhaustive)
New powers at the edge
The last but not least among the telecommunication trends 2021 is edge computing. Smartphones, tablets, IoT sensors, and other end devices are becoming more powerful and capable of running sophisticated applications that require super-fast response time.
Multi-access edge computing (MEC) concepts have picked up different names: edge cloud, fog computing, mobile edge computing. MEC is an ETSI-defined network architecture concept that enables cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the cellular network. In simple terms, MEC brings computing and storage resources closer to end users.
Multi-access edge computing (MEC) from operators in wireless networks is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 157.4%, reaching revenue of $7.23 billion by 2024.
Edge computing gives communication service providers (CSPs) a chance to learn from the success of companies like AWS and Google, and become cloud providers, specifically when it comes to low-latency use cases. By opening up the network as a distributed cloud resource, CSPs can host even non-telco workloads and grow their revenue streams.
Making telecom trends work for your business
When it comes to the latest trends in the telecom industry, there are a lot of forces at play — next-gen 5G networks, IoT and AI technologies, edge computing, and more. To remain competitive in the coming decade, telecom operators need to carefully plan their investments and adopt the right mix of technology.
Contact our experts to learn more on how to get a competitive advantage and foster innovation by leveraging the latest trends in telecom industry.