2018 has been a remarkable year for the telecom industry as several new trends and technologies emerged on its canvas. In a struggle to connect every single individual of this planet to a network, telcos have conquered numerous milestones. In a world of nearly 7.7 billion people, around 4.68 billion individuals bear a cellphone―66% of the total population (Statista). Conversely, this makes the mobile world the backbone of the economy for many countries. Let’s have a look at the trends and technologies that rocked the telecom industry in 2018.
According to some stats shared by GSMA Intelligence, there are around 3.3 billion internet users throughout the world, and this figure is expected to cross the mark of 5 billion in 2025. At present, 57% of the total approximate 5 billion mobile users possess a smartphone, and this figure is projected to reach 77% in 2025. The mobile industry generated around $1.05 trillion in the last year, generating nearly 29 million jobs. In the Asia Pacific region for example, there are approximately 67% mobile subscribers of which 41% people are internet users. However, the subscriber penetration in Asia is considered quite less as compared to other regions of the world.
Industry Trends we observed in 2018
The expansion of 4G
While 5G is about to officially hit the market in a year or two, 4G saw an enormous expansion in 2018. Although telcos are focusing on bringing 5G in everyone’s pocket, the availability of 4G is still a dream in a few regions. In 2018, telecom companies strived hard to expand their 4G networks so that they can grab a good chunk of subscribers for their oncoming 5G technology. Talking specifically about Asia, there are countries where 4G hasn’t even covered half of the territories. In this situation, the idea of rolling out 5G technology would be a grand challenge for the telcos.
5G―ready to hit the Market
There has been a buzz about the 5G technology in the past few years. 2018 revealed several facts about the testing of this upcoming technology that will impact every walk of life. With a gigabit internet speed, latency won’t be a headache anymore. AT&T tested its 5G network in 2018 and is ready to launch it in 2019. Oppo has successfully tested its 5G smartphone in its testing facilities. Verizon and AT&T have also announced to build 5G phones with Samsung. It’s expected that China will be the pioneer to commercialize 5G technology.
Internet of Things (IoT) is on the boom
Wherever there is a device connected to the internet, there jumps in the Internet of Things. With the increase in the number of electronic gadgets and devices and the provision of faster internet, IoT is becoming a commonplace. In 2018, we saw a sharp rise in the use of electronic gadgets that ultimately uplifted the mobile industry. IoT also emerged as a solution to electronic payment systems that also boosted the revenue generated by the mobile ecosystem. The concept of Industry 4.0 portrays a connected world where IoT, automation, and connectivity will be omnipresent. With that, we see a lot of telcos has invested a lot to improve their infrastructure in 2018 to support IoT for the future.
AI―Future of Telcos
The immense capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) have revolutionized almost every walk of life, and the telecom sector is no more untouched. In the race of technology, data is the next big thing. In 2018, telecom operators invested massively in deploying AI to deal with the Big Data they gather. AI has applications beyond chatbots and virtual assistants as it can digitalize and transform the entire telecom industry. Telcos deployed intelligent algorithms and networks that serve to comprehend consumer behavior and suggest optimum models to increase the subscriber penetration. With the increase in the number of IoT devices, Big Data has also emerged and deploying AI-based intelligent solutions has become necessary for telcos to be a part of the advanced tech race.
Everyone Connected Everywhere
Operators have put a lot to connect the unconnected to enhance the social and economic benefits. With improved infrastructure, 2018 saw a rise in efficiency of mobile networks that led to enhanced economic growth. Operators invested a great deal in rolling out innovative solutions to cater more users with affordable rates.
The Internet is not just meant to scroll social media sites. The availability of the internet is transforming businesses. In 2018, a lot of mobile applications emerged to accelerate enterprises and startups. Different Direct Carrier Billing and other financial services enabled users to make investments and manage their expenses more efficiently. Telcos have empowered us to make payments anywhere, without a headache.
Telecom industry made notable progress in 2018 and boosted the economy of countries. The next big thing is the launch of 5G technology that will create new opportunities for individuals as well as operators. In this tech race where each company is striving hard to become the pioneer of 5G commercialization, we predict the one with quality services will conquer the market in the coming years.