As new technologies are developed and deployed, industry providers will explore how they can use it to attract customers, expand their growth initiatives, and influence the future of telecom. But are these organizations truly prepared to make meaningful changes happen?

While integrating innovations like 5G sounds appealing, in reality the practice is much easier said than done. There’s no doubt that new technology creates tremendous potential for the future of telecom, but for most organizations that means a lot of work today.

Where do telecom’s growth opportunities reside? Which trends are sure to emerge in 2020 and beyond? And what potential problems do you need to be thinking about now? Let’s explore how new technology is shaping the future of telecom.

5G’s First Phase

As organizations all over the world roll out 5G, the telecommunications industry is still unsure of exactly how it can leverage this technology to deliver maximum business value to its customers. While it undoubtedly offers potential to address applications and use cases these providers traditionally haven’t, most solutions providers will need to make significant investments to explore this innovation first.

We’re all excited for the future of 5G connectivity, but whether we like it or not the technology is still stuck in its initial build stage. As telecom begins to understand what it’s capable of delivering though, you can expect to see an entirely new generation of services where network, infrastructure, and equipment vendors are concerned.

Consider, for example, the increasingly popular unlimited data plan. Today’s telecom providers increasingly use these plans to attract new customers and satisfy current ones. And with 5G’s emergence, this trend only becomes more likely. After all, this standard makes it possible for the future of telecom to offer increased download speeds and monthly data caps for all network data consumers.

The Future of Telecom Means More Competition

Today’s telecom landscape – specifically the broadband market – features a general lack of competition in rural areas. Outside of urban environments, it’s expensive to extend modern network infrastructure. But innovations like 5G fixed wireless and satellite internet could start to create changes very soon.

Since the speed and reliability of fixed wireless networks will increase across any location served by these next-gen technologies, rural consumers are increasingly likely to subscribe to broadband services for the first time. And this increased demand means telecom providers will be incentivized to create solutions that satisfy these audiences.

When combined with advanced infrastructure like low Earth orbit satellites, this industry’s increased competition will ensure prices remain as low as possible going forward – giving more consumers than ever the chance to experience these 5G-fueled broadband networks for themselves.

Edge Computing is Inevitable

There’s something else that’s sure to come with the future of telecom: edge computing.

Enabled by 5G technology, edge computing will create opportunities for organizations to aggregate, process, and store their data at the network edge rather than its center as they’ve traditionally done. For anyone that implements it, this brings several benefits.

Network bandwidth savings, reduced latency, and improved reliability are sure to result for any business that deploys edge computing across its workforce. In fact, these advantages are so sought after that IDC predicts almost half of all Internet of Things (IoT)-generated information will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close or at the edge of networks within the next three years as a result of this adoption activity.

Protecting Private Data

Consumer data privacy and security has never been more important – or a higher priority – to the telecom industry. That’s because 23% of US households have been affected by things like identity theft and financial loss resulting directly from unauthorized usage of their sensitive data.

Before the future of telecom can truly prosper, these organizations need to work harder to create digital environments where customers feel safe. Otherwise, they’re likely to face fines, consumer mistrust, and permanent brand reputation damage whenever one of these worst-case scenarios results.

Thanks to increased regulatory scrutiny from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), organizations are feeling pressure to re-examine how they conduct business by using consumer data. And this oversight will only increase in magnitude moving forward. For organizations to inspire trust and continue to grow, they’ll need to develop global policies and procedures that govern any task or function that involves customer data.

How 5G Influences the Future of Telecom

After all of its hype, many technology professionals are skeptical about what 5G can truly deliver – and the market will look to telecom providers to manage public expectations. Therefore, it’s crucial that 5G’s current value is clearly defined to everyone understands precisely where this technology is headed to give consumers realistic timelines and the ability to make informed decisions.

To make this happen, the future of telecom needs to consider the participation of regulatory authorities. Believe it or not, government agencies and legislative bodes have an important role to play. In fact, they can dramatically improve outcomes by offering guidance, rules, and standards via policy. Backed by supportive infrastructure deployments, these groups can dramatically further 5G’s pace of development and rapidly deliver benefits to the telecom organizations that need them most.

future of telecomWant to know what else the future of telecom has in store for you? Join Emily Dreyfuss, Gary Hasty, and hundreds of industry experts at AOTMP® 2020 to explore the future of technology and how things like 5G, IoT, and cloud will influence telecom professionals forever!