The Future of Telecom: Predictions for 2024 and Beyond

Trends and Predictions 2023

Spotlight on Trends & Predictions |

In the ever-evolving landscape of telecommunications, the synergy between technology and connectivity continues to shape the way businesses and individuals communicate, and that includes the increasing adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) services.

As we stand on the cusp of 2024, the trajectory of telecom SaaS is poised for further growth, driven by the demand for improved time-to-value and cost optimization following substantial 5G investments.

The article will also delve into the critical role of SaaS to improve commercial digitalization, enhance technical delivery and accelerate the overall pace of change in the coming year.

Trends and Predictions 2023

The Ascendancy of Telecom SaaS

The transition towards telecom SaaS is not merely a trend; it’s a paradigm shift. Economic imperatives, combined with the aftermath of significant 5G spectrum investments, are catalyzing this evolution.

The geopolitical landscape, marked by trade tensions, regulatory shifts and competitive pressures, has further complicated the scenario for telcos. Billions have been invested in the 5G sector, yet the question of “how to monetize 5G” has remained an enigma for many. The challenge of ensuring a return on these hefty investments amidst such uncertainties is daunting.

This is where telecom SaaS comes into play. It offers a flexible and agile approach, allowing telecom operators to “fail faster” or “experiment more.” In essence, it provides the ability to test and iterate solutions rapidly and at a fraction of the traditional costs. This agility is crucial in the current landscape, where the need to innovate and adapt is paramount.

In addition to that, telecom SaaS enables telecom companies to scale their operations more easily. With traditional telecom infrastructure, growing companies often must invest in additional hardware and infrastructure, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

However, telecom SaaS enables companies to quickly and simply scale their operations through subscriptions to additional services or by increasing their usage of existing services. This allows telecom companies to adapt to demand changes and expand their operations without significant upfront investments.

2024: A Defining Year for Core as a Service

For several years, communications service providers (CSPs) have faced financial constraints, yet they must be equipped with the right technology and skills to introduce new revenue streams. However, the intricacies of deploying and managing the 5G core often surpass the expertise of many CSPs.

Core SaaS stands out for its potential to upgrade existing systems, offering cost-effective solutions, swift market entry and comprehensive support for innovating new services. By entrusting a significant portion of the core’s management to an external party, the operational demands of managing the data center and its infrastructure diminish, enabling companies to prioritize their main goals without the overhead of costs like power, cooling and security.

Omdia’s World Cellular Information Series (WCIS) indicates there are over 900 CSPs worldwide. Including mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and mobile virtual network enablers (MVNEs), this figure significantly increases.

While many have adopted 5G RAN, only a handful have ventured into the 5G core, which is crucial for crafting new revenue opportunities. The deployment of the 5G core is intricate and demands expertise and assets that most CSPs lack. Hence, 2024 is anticipated to be a pivotal year for trials of core as a service.

Core SaaS delivers a pre-configured network blueprint, fully managed by the SaaS provider. It offers 5G core solutions tailored for diverse needs, streamlining integration and instantly catering to needs from basic to the most advanced 5G scenarios. The industry’s growing fascination with cores is evident.

Even as operators discern the best applications, the trajectory is evident, mirroring trends seen in private wireless. This hints that by 2025, the sector might be on the brink of experiencing commercial launches, marking a significant industry progression.

Navigating the Security Conundrum in a Mobile-First World

The rapid and significant increase in mobile data traffic is leading to a transformative shift in the industry’s security landscape. As technological solutions increasingly move towards the outer edges of the network, there is a notable decentralization of data flow, encompassing an even broader range of users and devices.

This expansion introduces new potential points of vulnerability, which could be exploited by malicious entities. These diverse and intricate challenges highlight the critical need for advanced security solutions. Such solutions should not only be robust but also incorporate cutting-edge techniques like machine learning and artificial intelligence. These techniques are essential for the timely identification and mitigation of potential threats.

With the growing number of Internet-connected devices and the widespread adoption of 5G technology, the complexities in ensuring security are multiplying. As a result, the year 2024 is set to become a defining moment in the industry.

During this period, the significance of security solutions within the domain of telecommunications SaaS is expected to reach unprecedented levels. The capability to devise and execute comprehensive and adaptable cybersecurity strategies will play a crucial role in determining the success and longevity of entities within the telecommunications sector.

Organizations that do not prioritize security at the highest level stand to face considerable risks, including potential harm to their reputation, disruptions in operations and significant financial losses.

The Dawn of Programmable Networks and Telecom APIs

One of the most transformative trends on the horizon is the emergence of programmable networks and telecom application programming interfaces (APIs). As telecom entities seek innovative avenues to diversify and amplify their revenue streams, these technologies will undoubtedly be at the forefront. They represent not just a revenue opportunity but a fundamental shift in the delivery and consumption of telecom services.

In conclusion, as we stand on the precipice of 2024, the telecom industry is brimming with opportunities and challenges. The predictions and insights shared above are not mere conjectures; they are informed perspectives based on patterns, data, and industry dynamics. As we move forward, it’s crucial for industry leaders to remain agile, informed, and visionary, ensuring that we’re not just participants in this evolution but architects of it.

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Mark is the Senior Vice-President of SaaS Business Operations for Nokia Cloud and Network Services. Mark joined Nokia from Oracle where he led Monetization and Orchestration Products for Oracle Communications Applications, focusing on Cloud development spanning digital service provider’s businesses and operations. He brings over 25 years of experience in product management and software development, and a passion for driving SaaS transformation. He holds an MBA in Business Computer Information Systems from the University of North Texas (Denton, Texas) and BBA degrees in Finance and Management from the Florida State University (Tallahassee, Florida).