When you have a once-in-a-century global health pandemic running into a game-changing technology (5G), a lot can happen. The telecommunications sector and its various moving parts, including operators, vendors, and systems integrators, have weighed in on 2020 via this year’s Telecoms.com Annual Industry Survey; the results paint an insightful and deeply nuanced picture of an industry in flux in more ways than one and coming off a year like no other.
COVID 19 and the Telecoms Industry
Many businesses in the communications sector were of course negatively impacted by COVID 19. Of the Telecoms.com survey’s 500 respondents, 44% said their business was negatively impacted. However, seven of 10 said the industry’s overall performance has been either good or excellent.
The report also details how survey respondents feel about next year and why they feel that way, and the specific technologies they are most excited about and planning to invest in.
What Happened with 5G in 2020?
By the end of Q3 this year, over 100 operators in more than 40 countries had launched 3GPP-compliant 5G services, including mobile and fixed mobile access services, and more than two-thirds have either already deployed virtualized 5G core or are planning to deploy it within one year.
However, despite the fast rollout of 5G networks in different parts of the world, many 5G promises have not been delivered on yet. The report details what these are and explains the obstacles around deploying them.
What about Broadband?
The general expansion of digital lifestyles and the increase in remote work have continued to drive demand for broadband, but the legacy copper footprint is seen as the leading constraint
to the deployment of next-gen fixed access architecture.
The report discusses why reducing total cost of ownership of fiber access deserves the most executive attention and why the value of broadband and 5G convergence has yet to convince the majority of survey participants.Digital Transformation for Telcos: Set Aside or Ramping Up?
Over half (54%) of the survey participants said COVID-19 had not impacted their companies’ investment in digital transformation, while 22% said their investment had actually increased.
However, half of the respondents (51%) believed that data has already become a commodity, and over a third (37%) thought it eventually would be commoditized.
The report delves into which services telcos consider key for digital transformation in 2021 and how those tie into new customer demands.
Telcos and Security: Why the Network Layer is Still Top Priority
With so much in the telecommunications industry moving to the cloud—be it private or public— telecoms operators are becoming more like IT companies. This means more security challenges and a wider variety of attack types, with network infrastructure now just being one of many different potential targets.
The report describes the security challenges telecoms industry players are facing, the strategies and methods they’ve been deploying to face these challenges, and how well these strategies have been working.
Telcos and Edge Intelligence: The Final Frontier?
Let’s not leave out edge intelligence—another topic the report jumps into head first, exploring all aspects of how telcos both used and didn’t use edge technology in 2020, how they are defining “edge”, and what’s been the biggest challenge to implementing edge-based strategies. Access the full report here.