Telecommunications are among the most dynamic industries and sensitive to technological advances. Currently, the paradigm shift to 5G, AI, and towards IoT is well underway. In 2020, adoption of these technologies will increase and transform 5G, IoT, AI, Cloud Computing, and Cloud Billing Platforms into telecom trends of 2020.
The Year of 5G
In the current technologically advanced and interconnected world, both success and survival rely on adaptation to changes by evolving with time. One of the most significant changes witnessed in the telecommunication industry is the ever-increasing demand for high-speed connectivity and faster protocols for data transfer. The rapidly increasing demand for high-speed connectivity has stretched 4G to its limit rendering it ineffective to enable the next phase in telecommunication. The 5G network architecture is user-centric, while 4G is application-centric. The difference in architecture will enable improvements in various aspects, such as communication capacity, the number of large-scale connections, and the rate of data transmission. In comparison, 5G has a lower connectivity cost and end-to-end delay (low-latency) with enhanced user experience than the 4G network.
5G offers high-speed connectivity needed to increase data access. Ultra-low latency connection offered by 5G is expected to increase the adoption of IoT by enabling the interconnection of sensors and devices. IoT applications, such as asset and data tracking, forecasting trends, and industrial automation, require ultra-low latency to attain the highest level of functionality. The 5G network will enable widespread connectivity into remote areas, which were previously excluded by the other networks, including 4G. High connectivity in these areas will enable the adoption of IoT devices, such as sensors for data collection, asset tracking, and service delivery. The role by 5G in the implementation of IoT will increase the adoption of the network transforming it from an idea to the trend in the telecommunication industry in 2020.
Currently, 5G is gradually being adopted as the future of the telecommunication industry promising network reliability and faster download speeds, with immense opportunities both for consumers and businesses. Service providers across the world are in the development phase for 5G networks with the expectation of increased implementation of 5G in 2020. According to CRN, AT&T is already offering 5G services to mobile customers in 21 cities across the U.S. and is on track to attain nationwide 5G coverage in the first half of 2020. Verizon and T-Mobile are also ramping up their implementation and deployment of a 5G network across major U.S. cities. According to a survey by Deloitte, the FCC is supporting the development of 5G and concluded auction of 28-GHz and 24-GHz spectrum in June 2019. Also, the body has approved auction of underused 2.5-GHz spectrum kept for educational purposes for 5G networks. Overall, close to $25 billion has been spent by telecom companies on the purchase of 5G spectrums for 2020 deployment.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is one of the most significant telecom trends of 2020. The importance of IoT stems from remote access capability to base stations and data centers. A majority of players in the telecommunication industry will increase the adoption of IoT in an attempt to exploit some of the benefits bestowed by the technology. IoT technology will enable telecom entities to monitor their data centers and base stations remotely, reducing downtime for their networks. The fact that players in the telecom industry are also carriers of internet connectivity implies that the industry will play an enabling role in terms of implementation and deployment of IoT. An enabling role entails providing IoT infrastructure, which the telecommunication industry is best positioned to deliver, allowing carriers to structure their own IoT services and offer to the ever-growing IoT market. According to Judy Carroll, IoT will contribute to the projected increase in the number of devices connected to the network to 20.6 billion.
The key drivers in the adoption of IoT in 2020 are the increased revenue from the technology acquired by network carriers. It is undeniable that the widespread adoption of IoT and IoT billing will not only set the trend in the telecommunication in 2020, but it will also disrupt and transform the industry.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
According to Bernard Barr of Forbes, Artificial Intelligence (AI) influences telecommunications intensively and extensively touching on various aspects of the telecom business. Currently, AI plays a critical role in telecom, providing AI-based virtual assistants and chatbots, which are vital in the improvement of customer service and satisfaction. Also, AI is vital to telecom companies for network optimization and predictive maintenance of these networks. In 2019, telecoms faced widespread backlash from both the public and authorities for mishandling users’ data. According to Deloitte, antitrust issues among consumers is expected to increase in 2020. Regulators such as the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) are laying the foundation to review the power wielded by large telecommunication companies, which will anchor antitrust investigations into the workings of the giants in the telecom industry. This is where AI will come in handy because it provides the tools for telecom giants to secure data of their customers, which is the root cause of antitrust and the impending investigations. The expected increase in demand for data security in 2020 means that the telecom industry will increasingly rely on AI for data security purposes. The adoption of AI for data security will be enhanced further by the expected increase in data held by telecoms as 5G and IoT increase the number of devices connected to their networks. The importance of AI, along with its ability to mitigate the effects of antitrust issues, impending investigations, and increased data insecurity, provides substantial evidence that an increase in the adoption of AI will be among telecom trends of 2020.
Even though cloud computing was one of the telecom trends of 2019, this technology was not adopted and implemented intensively and extensively to exploit all the benefits it offers. Cloud computing is expected to continue to trend in telecommunication in 2020 but with an increase in adoption than previously. Among the needs of telecoms in 2020 includes the introduction of new services, reduction of costs to compete favorably in a highly globalized marketplace, and adjust to fluctuations in market demands more effectively. To this end, telecoms increase their adoption of cloud computing in their operations, seeking to fulfill these needs by harnessing the benefits of the cloud. Telecoms can increase their services or introduce new services using the cloud’s pay-per-use service model. Additionally, extensive adoption of the cloud offers telecoms economies of scale, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, which they require to address the need for reduction of costs. Similar to IoT, telecoms can use the cloud to improve the effectiveness of their operations, or they can restructure cloud computing services, allowing them to provide these services to the expanding and growing market. Using cloud computing in operations will be beneficial because it provides an invaluable opportunity for telecoms to switch important functions of their business to the cloud. The higher efficiency offered by the cloud enables telecoms to adjust to fluctuations in market demands. The fact that the cloud addresses the needs of telecom companies is a clear indication that cloud computing will be a telecom trend in 2020.
More digital services
Among the telecom trends of 2019 was over-the-top (OTT) services, which enabled telecoms to leverage their networks and offer text messaging and voice calling on a 3G network or an LTE network. The projected widespread adoption of 5G in 2020 implies that legacy revenues attained from OTT services will be eroded. Erosion of OTT’s legacy revenue is attributed to a decrease in competitive advantage gained by telecoms in 2019 via OTT services as more companies adopt 5G. To remain relevant to consumers and enterprise consumers, telecom companies will have to diversify their portfolio to offer more services.
It is important to note that for telecoms to reacquire eroded competitive advantage, they should not just increase services offered but ensure these services exploit emerging technologies or a trend in the industry. One of the most prominent trends in telecommunications is digitalization. Therefore, companies can reacquire their competitive edge by offering more digital services in 2020, such as OTT streaming services and more mobile data to the consumer market. Telecoms can adjust to market demands by providing cloud services to consumers. Telecoms that invested more in network transformation, fiber, and 5G, such as Verizon 2.0, can increase digital services more efficiently than companies that failed to focus on the flexibility of their infrastructure.
Cloud Billing Platform
The cloud billing platforms, such as Tridens Monetization, provides telecom companies with the capacity they require to support any monetization models. For example, Tridens Monetization is a full-stack cloud billing platform offering telecoms the capacity to adopt different monetization models and revenue streams and operate effectively in a Quote-Order-Cash digital economy. This capacity will entice interest from telecom firms in 2020 because they will need to adopt different business models to compete favorably in the highly competitive and globalized market of 2020. The cloud billing platform, similar to Tridens Monetization offers telecoms the synergy to support a large and evolving ecosystem, which will be of interest to companies in 2020 based on the fact that the telecommunications industry is expanding and evolving rapidly. One of the main aspects that sets telecom billing apart from other cloud billing platforms is the agility it provides, which enable telecoms to react promptly to emerging opportunities. Agility and flexibility in the reaction will enable telecommunication firms to capture opportunities before their competitors.
According to a report by Research and Markets, the telecom cloud billing market is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 27.9% globally over the next five years to reach $22.84 by 2025. The report also highlights that the cloud billing platform will trend in the telecommunications catalyzed by other telecom trends of 2020, such as the high adoption of cloud computing. Lastly, the projected technological advances in telecom cloud billing in 2020 will diversify the cloud platform market to include platform-as-a-service (PaaS), business-continuity-as-a-service (BcaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).
It is undeniable that the success or failure of telecoms depends on their adoption rate of technology. In 2020, telecoms can attain a competitive edge, flexibility, agility, and capacity to capture more opportunities by adopting telecom trends. Companies can address antitrust issues by adopting AI to enhance data security.