Telecom Industry in 2020: Challenges and Solutions

The global telecommunications sector is a vibrant industry that keeps evolving constantly to accommodate new technologies and infrastructure such as cloud, 5G, IoT, and others. At the beginning of 2020, there were 7.7 billion active mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide, reports This is a significant jump from 3.3 billion in 2015. By 2022, global IP traffic will grow to 400 exabytes per month. Yet, changing technologies lead to several adaptational challenges that the telecom industry needs to overcome. 
Related Reading: How IoT and AI is Driving Field Service Innovation
What are the top challenges that await telecom companies in the coming days? How can telcos cross the hurdles? This blog explores. 

Top 5 telecom challenges and ways to address them

1. Coping with Technology Changes

Technology is an ever-evolving thing. Companies that are adept at changing their business models to embrace in-vogue technology turn out to be successful. This has played out when the internet, cloud, and mobility emerged to cause big-scale disruptions. Businesses that disregarded changes and stuck to profitable status-quos are obsolete today. The stories of Nokia, Kodak, and Netscape prove this fact. 
Successful players in the telecom industry do not rest on their laurels. They need to:

  • Upgrade IT and connectivity infrastructure to provide high-quality data and voice services. IoT generates trillions of new data sources and increases data handled by networks to zettabytes. Telecom companies will have to scale-up to ensure their networks move such extraordinary amounts of data.
  • Restructure business models to adapt to new technologies as it emerges and becomes mainstream. Businesses have to become increasingly mobile and reach out to customers fast.
  • Differentiate product offerings and seek profitable niches. IoT is one of the rapidly growing areas now. Gartner estimates 5.8 billion IoT endpoints in 2020. Telcos offering IoT connectivity and Machine to Machine (M2M) devices will generate new streams of revenue. Businesses need a way to manage their IoT network seamlessly.

2. The Dawn of 5G

5G will go mainstream by the latter half of 2020 in most parts of the world.
5G supports a huge increase in connected devices per unit area. It offers ultra-low latency, improves data rates, and enables network slicing. These options facilitate new services and enhance the customer experience. Telecom companies will become service providers over and above technology distributors.
Related Reading: 6 Ways Telecom Companies Can Improve Customer Experience
Telecoms are in search of “killer apps” for 5G, or the next generation of solutions. Those who roll-out such apps will gain a head start and an immense competitive advantage.
Some enhanced possibilities with 5G include:

  • Edge computing for enterprise applications. The stakes of edge computing increase with IoT. IDC predicts storage, processing, and analysis of 45% of IoT generated data at the network edge.
  • Sports betting. 5G supports low-latency and high-volume communications tailor-made for real-time sports betting and similar activities. Many sports stadiums, bars, and other establishments have deployed 5G. The National Football League and Verizon have installed 5G Ultra Wideband networks in 13 stadiums.
  • Identity verification. Telcos will explore tie-up with retailers, banks, schools, corporates, governments, and business organizations that leverage biometric fingerprint and other features in smartphones.

The transition to 5G will generate a windfall for infrastructure and equipment vendors. Gartner estimates worldwide 5G network infrastructure revenues to reach $4.2 billion in 2020. 

3. Increasing Preference for Customization

Today’s demanding customers seek customization and prefer personalized engagement.
Telcos have to:

  • Decentralize decision making, to empower line managers to make the right call related to the customer. 
  • Deploy chatbots and offer self-service to further customer support.
  • Innovate to create robust cross-functional interfaces. Enterprises will have to offer a variety of new products based on customer preferences. Tailor-made solutions for high-value clients will become the norm. Value seeking customers will prefer flexible pay-as-you-go and mix-and-match options.

4. Heightened Focus on Security

The rise in volume and complexity of digitalization is proportional to a rise in security risks. Telcos store vast amounts of sensitive data on complex networks. Telecom companies should implement robust security measures to prevent malware attacks, DDoS attacks, and other types of cyberattacks. 
Telecom companies will have to:

  • Fortify their networks through network monitoring and other deployments
  • Deploy innovative technology such as AI-powered solutions to weed out spam from emails, and offensive content from social media. AI also identifies fraudulent activity.
  • Address increased regulatory scrutinies such as GDPR, HIPAA, and data privacy laws.

5. Challenges Posed by COVID-19

Telecommunication companies are not immune to the disruptions and changes caused by COVID-19. But most jurisdictions regard the telecom industry as an essential service. Stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, and social distancing push more and more people into the online mode. As such, COVID-19 will increase the demand for telecommunication services. Agile and resilient telecom providers willing to scale-up and match the demand can reap rich dividends.
Related Reading: How Can Field Service Businesses Survive A Pandemic

How Field service management suite helps telecom companies

A field service management suite helps telecom operators rise up to all these challenges. An FSM enables telecom companies to process work orders in double-quick time, and schedule the best technician for the job. It integrates with the CRM to deliver insights on the customer, automates field inspections and reports, generates instant billing, and delivers much more to optimize your field service functions. Whether it is enabling a new connection, an emergency repair, or routine maintenance, the insights and real-time tracking offered by field management suites allows business managers to remain in control of operations, and intervene to resolve issues and glitches.
Related Reading: Can Field Service Software Help Manage Unexpected Technical Interventions?
Do you still use paper or Excel spreadsheets to manage your service business? ReachOut is a web and mobile solution for companies to schedule, dispatch, and deliver inspections, work orders, ticketing, and more. Sign up for a free account.

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Ashmitha Chatterjee

Ashmitha works with ReachOut Suite as a creative writer. She collaborates with the Digital Marketing team to deliver engaging, informative, and SEO friendly business collaterals. Being passionate about writing, Ashmitha frequently engages in blogging and creating fiction. Besides writing, Ashmitha indulges in exploring effective content marketing strategies.

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