Need advice? Keen to get the best deal? Call now on +44 (0)1494
The global telecoms sector continues its transformation process as infrastructure improvements to both mobile and broadband technologies continue. The operators are continuously seeking new revenue streams relating to the apps and services generated by these technologies and video streaming continues to be a key area of focus. Developments relating to IoT and M2M will continue to emerge in 2017 which will ultimately lead us to the smart cities of the future. This report explores the key global trends impacting upon the telecoms sector in 2017 and beyond, supported by valuable analyses, examples and key statistics.
- Key Trends for Global Telecoms for 2017 and Beyond;
- Internet of Things and M2M;
- Low Power Area Networks (LPWA);
- Smart Contracts and Block Chain;
- Broadband and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP);
- LTE and 5G;
- Video Streaming;
- Smart Cities.
High-speed infrastructure takes hold - paving the way for revenue streams
Recently there was an important development for the broadband sector when the market share of fibre infrastructure lines finally overtook DSL technologies as the largest on a global level.
The fixed broadband network is the infrastructure needed to meet the needs, both economic and societal, of the developed markets. In fact in many of these markets, wireless broadband and FttP are developing in a complementary and harmonious way.
Currently 4G networks offer excellent broadband services and, as long as the usage is limited, the prices are competitive. However, as soon as the mobile networks become used for entertainment services such as Netflix, the affordability drops significantly. Looking ahead, more and more of these entertainment services will be delivered over broadband and more and more people will move from traditional TV to these broadband-based services. At the same time, the quality is moving from HDTV to 4K and it remains unlikely that these services can be supported by wireless networks at affordable prices.
However, if fixed networks operators are not providing FttP infrastructure, and are thus not going to be able to deliver the broadband quality that people demand, the wireless industry will look for new opportunities and will push the boundaries further and further.
The 5G technology is now well and truly under development. While there are no firm standards in place, the industry is working hard at making that happen. In the meantime, the early movers are testing their own versions of the 5G technology and this is giving us information about what we can expect – what the technology will be able to deliver. Commercial 5G is not expected to become available in any significant way until around 2020, with full deployment expected towards the end of that decade.
Developments, strongly facilitated by developments in the ICT industry, are leading to massive economic transformation processes. We see that whole industry sectors and traditional business models have been replaced by new ones. The key reason for these transformations is that in some instances up to 80% of the costs of those traditional business models can be removed.
These processes are relentless and are going to force other sectors to transform as well. Developments linked to cloud computing, data centres, data analytics (big data), machine-to-machine (M2M), the internet-of-things (IoT) and the emerging Blockchain may all play a part in transforming our current world. Ultimately from these developments we are beginning to slowly see the emergence of Smart Cities, and indeed Smart Nations.
Looking at the big picture indicates there many more innovations to emerge in the years ahead. For the operators however, the bottom line is converting these technological developments into revenue generating services and applications. The operators need paying subscribers and consumers who will adopt the services and applications on offer. To this end, video streaming is a great example of the huge impact new technologies can make. Fixed and mobile bandwidth is increasingly under strain from the enormous appetite consumers have demonstrated for video streaming - and it is the content and service providers alike which are reaping the benefits.
- FttX held only a 22% market share of global broadband access technologies in 2013, but by 2016 this had increased to around 47% at the expense of DSL which is in decline.
- With the improved coverage and penetration of LTE as well as the massive adoption of smartphones, VoLTE has become a priority throughout the world for operators that wish to bring HD voice service to their LTE customers. Nevertheless, while VoLTE services certainly offer opportunities, Over-The-Top (OTT) mobile VoIP services will attract the largest revenue market shares, at least in the short and medium term.
- Key developments for 2017 include M2M and IoT infrastructure, facilitating the development of smart homes, buildings and cities. Many of these applications will be opened up partly through the use of 4G LTE A(dvanced) – a halfway house on the way to full 5G.
- LTE Broadcast, or LTE-B, also known as Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) took a step further in late April 2016 with the announcement that Verizon, Telstra, KT (South Korea) and EE (United Kingdom) had formed the LTE-B Alliance. The alliance hopes to encourage further operators to join the push for LTE-B – and in particular to encourage device manufacturers to begin making devices LTE-B compatible in 2017.
- The use of millimetre wave spectrum for 5G took a significant step forward in mid July with the US becoming the first country to designate rules for its usage. Millimetre waves can be beamed through ultra-high speeds (Gb/s), enabling mass-content-storage applications, which are not possible over the current mobile networks. The FCC has adopted the new rules which will open up the millimetre wave spectrum.