The telecommunications industry is continuing to change at a remarkable speed. Mobile technology has evolved over the years to deliver a much better experience. Disruption is taking place at a fast pace around the world and operators have recognized – and are taking advantage and evolving their key role in a digital society. Though operators are well placed to play an important part in the transformation journey in a fast-changing digital society, there is also a need for them to act and evolve faster to be in the race with others.
The telecommunications industry has changed radically in the past 10 years as data-hungry customers with smart devices consume greater bandwidth. The industry began looking to data-optimized 4th-generation technologies, with a promise of speed improvements up to 10-fold over existing 3G/2.5G technologies. It is basically an extension in the 3G technology with more bandwidth and services offers in 3G. The expectation for 4G is the high-quality audio/video streaming over end-to-end internet protocol. The first two commercially available technologies billed as 4G were the worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) standard and long-term evaluation (LTE) standard.
Now 5G is slowly becoming a reality around the world and will naturally evolve from the existing 4G networks. But 5G will mark an inflection point in the future of communications, bringing instantaneous high-powered connectivities to billions of devices. A few new technology and trends which are accepted across the globe by operators in their transformation journey are:
The industry is at the forefront of the digital transformation which is emerging as a key driver of sweeping change in the world around us. Digital transformation can be enabled through a change in business models, customer experience and achieving internal efficiencies. Digital business models are top priorities and play a critical role not only in driving revenues and enhancing customer experience, but also to enable cost efficiencies.
TV and video services are established drivers of telco revenue growth and customer loyalty. There is a growing propensity for digital content consumption with the convergence of telecommunications and media. Interestingly, content consumption is shifting to smaller form factors due to growing smartphone penetration driven by individual needs.
Operators are now acting as a key enabler of IoT and smart cities solution all over the world. The smart city and smart home have been key growth areas for the IoT so far due to applications such as energy management, home automation and security, and delivering a clear value that resonates with customers.
While consumer segments tend to dominate headlines as key markets in IoT, business and industry-focused segments.
Analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) offer new routes to agility, efficiency, and monetization to a telecom operator. Network, operation, customer service and marketing all can be improved and more efficiency can be brought with AI and analytics play.
Intelligent automation or robotics process Automation (RPA) is a significant driver of telecom investment worldwide and it is used extensively in every function and use cases. Cost savings of ~25 – 50 percent becomes achievable through RPA.
Infrastructure and network sharing are also significant drivers for telecos in light of mounting financial and operational pressures. Network sharing, network sourcing, or managed services transactions aim to decrease the weight of non-critical assets in the balance sheet, maximizing return on investment for assets held.
Market conditions for operators remain extremely challenging, with ongoing price deflation driven by competition from OTT providers and adjacent market players. Analytics and virtualization are the top innovation drivers, but legacy IT stack and lack of skills act as hindrances. However, confidence is boosting to transform a legacy mobile operator into a digital integrated player.