Looking ahead to 2020 – An insight into the trends about to hit the telecoms world

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2020 is getting closer, and the new year is set to bring further developments to the telecoms industry. Building on the trends of 2018 and 2019, there are no big surprises – but technology continues to transform telecoms.

The growth of 5G and the cyber-security implications

One of the biggest paradigms in 2019 has been the deployment of 5G; it has become available in a number of cities across the UK and most mobile network providers have started to offer devices compatible with the faster speed internet.

2020 promises a widespread uptake of 5G with network providers committing to more coverage; the EU has a 5G action plan to provide uninterrupted 5G coverage by 2025. To achieve this, telecoms will need to become more of a service provider and engage with governments, enterprise customers and alter sales to help leverage the power of 5G. According to wired.com, 5G can be up to 66x faster than 4G, therefore it has the potential to really transform mobile network capability.

It is expected that 5G may begin to compete with wireless and satellite internet and it is feasible as it enters the mainstream market that 5G will lead to new mobile applications; it is predicted 5G will be used by sports betting services in stadiums and bars.

The telecoms industry needs to prepare for the future of 5G and be able to deal with the larger cyber-security threat 5G presents. The sheer amount of sensitive data that is transmitted across telecoms services means they are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Telecoms enable so many of the services we depend on such as phone and video calls, email and messaging therefore attacks can really cause a disruption. It can prevent services working or infect them with malware; neither of which are good for customers.

When 5G becomes more common, the amount of data will increase therefore so will the threat, the telecoms industry needs to be able to protect itself by having the correct preventative IT infrastructure and the capability to deal with an attack. Even a false rumour of an attack damages a company’s reputation so prevention really is key.

Internet of Things

The omnichannel experience should improve in 2020 with the growth of smart objects, however networks are challenged with huge volumes of data and security challenges. The smartphone will probably continue to be at the centre of telecoms, but intelligence is spreading to other things; intelligent factories, wireless vehicle to vehicle charging and video healthcare appointments.

The interconnectivity of everyday items is enabled by telecoms and as customers expect more convenience it is likely to become seamless. If customers are able to pay for a car ride on their phone, they will eventually expect to be able to pay bills instantly in all restaurants and shops.

Smart cities such as Yinchaun in China are powered by telecoms, with passengers able to pay for their bus fare by simply showing their face. 2020 will likely see more of these smart cities across the world, powered by telecommunications.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence provides an opportunity to optimise and maintain networks, providing customers of mobile networks with a better service. Voice services and virtual reality are likely to become larger players, with 1/3 of consumers predicted by ATOS.com to use VR by 2020. The telecoms industry needs to adapt to sustain both Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality by providing sufficient speed and latency.

Developing World 

The largest growth for smartphones and internet access is in the developing world and this penetration will likely continue in 2020. ATOS.net predicts 80% of the world’s population will have internet access in 5 years and 5 billion people connected by mobile.

As technological advances improve, the cost level can be driven down making connecting the unconnected more appealing, so 2020 should see more of this. Commhoists’ role in telecoms means we are looking forward to some of the opportunities for telecoms but are also preparing for the challenges these new developments will bring.