Telecom Industry Trends for 2021
In 2020, the lockdowns and shutdowns caused by COVID-19 pandemic impacted the telecom industry by increasing mobile data consumption, voice traffic, and residential broadband. The telecom companies took many initiatives and make many operational changes to improve customer experience and generate revenue consistently. The telecom companies will continue to lunch new projects, experiment with new business models, and improve network experience to stay profitable in the post-pandemic world.
But many tech analysts believe the telecom industry will be transformed by a slew of disruptive technologies in 2021. The disruptive technologies will make many existing telecom industry trends obsolete and create many new telecom industry trends. The telecom companies have to invest resources and address challenges to adopt some of the emerging industry trends in 2021. We can prepare a list of telecom industry trends for 2021 based on the information and data collected from diverse online sources.
8 Trends That Will Shape and Transform the Telecom Industry in 2020
Unlike conventional radio access network (RAN), open radio access network (OpenRAN) architecture enable network operators to design and implement 4G and 5G networks by integrating vendor-neutral software and hardware components. In 2020, leading telecom companies adopted the new-generation technology to speed up network expansion and reduce network cost. OpenRAN creates an opportunity for telecom operators to get software and hardware components from many equipment vendors. In 2021, OpenRAN will transform the telecom industry by becoming the new normal. Here is an interesting blog on benefits of OpenRAN.
In many countries, telecom companies are planning to offer 5G services commercially by late 2020. In 2021, the telecom companies will implement 5G networks and offer 5G services gradually. 5G will transform the network experience of consumers by delivering ultrafast speed and ultralow latency. At the same time, 5G will also boost Internet of Things (IoT) by facilitating massive machine-type communication. Telecom companies across the world have already started creating new and innovative use cases for 5G. In 2021, telecom companies will leverage 5G to launch a slew of 5G services and solutions that did not exist in 2020.
AI and ML
5G will act as a medium to drive integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into the network edge. The next-generation wireless networks will leverage AI and ML to forecast end-user distribution, predict peak traffic, and enhance network capability. The ML algorithms will make it easier for telecom companies to implement network slicing and beamforming. AI and ML will create opportunities for telecom companies to boost network experience and curtail network cost through automation. AI-based communication will further lead to the development of smart cities by facilitating decision making based on real-time data.
Mobile Edge Computing
Many telecom companies have already launched projects to implement mobile edge computing to cater to the exponential growth of smartphones and IoT devices. Many tech analysts believe that mobile edge computing will transform the telecom industry in 2021 as a disruptive technology. The telecom companies will leverage edge computing to bring data storage and computing closer to the end-users’ devices. In addition to reducing latency, edge computing will speed up the processing of real-time data collected and transmitted through connected devices. Many telecom companies are expected to diverse resources to mobile edge computing from a public cloud to store data locally.
According to SecurityToday.com,
“Every second—127 new IoT devices are connected to the web. During 2020—experts estimate the installation of 31 billion IoT devices.”
The disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic made enterprises from various industries invest in IoT. Also, the demand for smart home devices surged in 2020. The ultrafast speed and ultralow latency enabled by 5G will boost IoT by making connected devices exchange real-time data almost instantly. The demand for home and industrial IoT devices and applications will increase consistently in the post-pandemic world. The telecom companies have to expand and upgrade networks to cater to the data usage needs of new IoT solutions and applications used by enterprises across industries.
In addition to boosting IoT, the mass-scale implementation of 5G will encourage many policymakers and city leaders to set up smart cities. The smart cities will rely on telecom networks to manage services, assets, and resources efficiently by getting actionable insights from a large amount of real-time data. Citizens can enjoy comfortable lives in smart cities by accessing completely new digital products and services. The telecom operators have to act as smart connectivity providers to meet the needs of smart cities. But they have to address a new set of challenges proactively in 2021 to play a key role in the development of smart cities. Here is my detailed take on 5G impact on smart cities.
Network Footprint Expansion
In 2021, many enterprises and organization will allow employees to work from home. Likewise, many students prefer online live classes or eLearning to conventional classrooms in the post-pandemic worlds. Also, 5G is expected to increase mobile data usage by 400% in the near future. That is why; the telecom companies will expand network footprint to meet the needs of enterprise and residential consumers. Also, they have to maintain network speed and reliability to support massive machine-type interactions. They will keep expanding the already-established network as well as upgrade the existing network to leverage RAN and facilitate mass-scale 5G implementation.
In 2020, leading network operators, device manufacturers, and chip-manufacturers formed the Open RAN Policy Coalition with the aim to keep wireless technologies like 5G open and interoperable. The members of the coalition have already launched projects and announced plans to facilitate designing and implementation of modular telecom networks that do not depend upon a single vendor. In 2021, more network operators are expected to come together, join such alliances, and form new alliances to adopt disruptive technologies.
In 2021, disruptive technologies like 5G and mobile edge computing will transform the telecom industry. The telecom companies have to expand and update their network infrastructure to accelerate the commercial implementation of 5G networks. At the same time, they have to change existing business models, launch new solutions, and form new alliances to remain profitable and relevant in the post-pandemic world.