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Telecommunications Industry Trends to Watch In 2021


2020 was a year of massive transformation for all sectors, and the telecommunications industry was no different. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that certain trends have slowed whilst other new ones have emerged.

Current shifts in how companies operate means that there has been a greater reliance on remote connectivity. As more people work from home or use digital technology to join up with others, the need for cybersecurity to protect privacy has also increased.

Alongside this, new technology has continued to grow. Many carriers deployed 5G services in 2020, and the spotlight has shifted to artificial intelligence. With these emerging technological advances, edge computing has become more essential than ever.

We expect to see some exciting telecommunications industry trends in the next year. Here are a few things we think are likely to take place across the sector in 2021.


Continual Growth of 5G

Growth-of-5G-icon-telecommunications-industry-trendsMore and more carriers have deployed 5G services and in countries all around the world. 5G is set to transform the landscape of telecoms as it promises faster download speeds and high network reliability. It will open opportunities for new services, network operation and improved customer experience.

Though the introduction of 5G into the marketplace was supposed to boom in 2020, network implementation was slowed as a consequence of COVID-19. Consumer adoption has also been slow, as the infrastructure may not be available in their area or customer experience does not live up to their promises.

In the coming year, we expect adoption rates to increase as more carriers implement 5G into their networks. As operators continue to develop new applications and upgrades for 5G, we are more probable to see an uptake in customer approval. Though, it may be a more gradual adoption than we saw with 3G and 4G.


Remote Connectivity

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To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, everything went remote. Complying with social distancing regulations and lockdown restrictions, many sectors shifted online and workforces across the world started working from their own homes.With the sudden shift of so many people accessing digital platforms at one time, the telecoms industry had to react to demands of seamless connectivity. And it did.

Digital platforms used for videoconferencing, online events and file sharing have all seen a rise in the number of users. We do not expect this trend to diminish in 2021.

It is looking likely that the effects of coronavirus pandemic are going to continue into 2021, and so the need for remote connectivity is not going to go away anytime soon. Many companies have allowed their employees to remain working from home until the foreseeable future.

Going into next year and beyond, telecommunication networks need to ensure optimum speeds and low latency for their customers. This is only going to increase as more users access online technologies.


Time for Artificial Intelligence

Artificial-intelligence-AI-icon

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the telecommunication industry trends that we expect to increase exponentially in the coming year. Billions have been spent on the technology in the past year and it has been predicted that this spending is only going to increase in the next few years.Within the telecom sector, AI is already used to analyse data and predict network anomalies, preventing network disruptions. Elsewhere, virtual assistants and service bots are used for customer service.

In 2021, we expect artificial intelligence and machine learning to be used to automate and augment processes. There is a consensus that AI may be unethical, but we anticipate that companies will move past this sentiment and tackle to problem of bias head on.


Reduced Latency with Edge Computing

Edge-computing-icon-telecommunications-industry-trends

Until this point, edge computing has been in the developmental stages. It is expected that more companies will facilitate the deployment of edge computing in the next year. As more people work remotely and connect digitally, infrastructure needs to be in place to support streamlining of these services.

Edge computing refers to an open IT architecture where the data is processed by a local computer or server instead of relying on the cloud, transmitted to a data center. 5G and AI allows for edge computing systems to support larger bandwidths for data, and faster.

As other technologies continue to grow, we believe edge computing to be a big telecom trend for the near future. Faster processing and response times are expected. The need for more processing and instant computing could help to push edge computing to the forefront of the telecommunications sector in the coming years.


Emphasis on Cybersecurity

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As highlighted above, artificial intelligence is already making an enormous difference to how telecom companies work. Virtual assistants, process automation, maintenance and data analysis all have their benefits and offer opportunities for processes to become more streamline. In turn this allows telcos to work more efficiently and provide customers with solutions faster.

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and become ever more present in the world, we can expect to see these tools becoming more available. With ongoing developments in the technology, we would expect to see AI to continually grow at an accelerated rate in coming years.


While there are a lot of exciting trends expected in 2021, there are also challenges. Strict regulation, limitations in current technology and the coronavirus pandemic all will play a part in how these areas of telecoms evolve in the next few years. That being said, we look forward to seeing how the industry grows and develops in 2021.

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