Telecom 2021: The Path Ahead

5G Innovations

Spotlight on Trends and Predictions| TelecomDrive.com

As we come off a rough year, in which rapid transformation has been the key to survival for nearly every industry and company, telecom operators will need to view the year ahead as one that will continue to bring change and disruption.

Much of this will be driven by 5G, which will evolve from today’s trial deployments to real-world use cases that telcos can monetise. A fully digital customer experience and enhanced digital transformation will also be integral to navigating the road ahead.

5G will finally become a reality

New devices are already marking their way to the market, and 5G networks deploy on a larger scale, indicating that we will start to see real-world use cases appearing in 2021. As 5G becomes more of a reality, we will hear a lot more about 5G killer use cases beneficial to the region, such as improvements in oil and gas industry processes, cloud gaming and intelligent surveillance systems[1]. We will also see more partnerships happening around ecosystems in 2021 and 2022, especially in the enterprise market.

The monetisation discussion will heat up too. We are going to see several factors required of 5G monetisation solutions, including proven scalability that seamlessly manages the billions of events per day at ultra-low latency and processes charging volumes with single-second latencies. However, one thing is obvious: operators will be looking for flexibility within their digital BSS solutions. They will want to know that they are future-proofing their billing for forthcoming 5G services, not just the ones they are working on right now.

Customer experience has been under the magnifying glass.

With most customer services moved online, the need for self-service options will continue to grow. Even after months of High Street shut down, consumer behaviours will continue to shift, and the end of the pandemic will not change this. Digital experiences have become embedded in everyday life, transforming consumer expectations. As such, operators will have to reassess how they do everything – from selling phones to offering contactless payments – and up the ante for servicing customers online and over the phone.

The global pandemic also accelerated the move to the cloud, and this is having a vast impact on CX as call-centre operators work from home. Because of this, 2021 will also bring an enhanced focus on consumer conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to support the increased influx of calls and customer service requests.

The pandemic called out companies who have yet to embrace digital.

In 2021, we will likely see two types of digital transformation projects. One performed by those who were behind in adapting to the pandemic. Next year, these businesses will begin adopting cloud-native business models that enable them to more easily pivot, expand their offerings, or adapt to global market conditions.

The second will be implemented by companies who have been attacking digital customer experience and use cases as needed but are finally reaching the tipping point where their legacy infrastructure is giving out. For them, it will make sense to go full-in on business evolution projects.

[1]Retrieved from: https://teletimesinternational.com/2020/state-of-5g-middle-east/

The article appeared in the December issue of Disruptive Telecoms.