Transforming Telecommunications for the digital age

  • Written By WHISHWORKS
  • 23/03/2021

The last decade has been ripe with disruption for the Telecommunications industry. The increasing adoption of mobile applications has fuelled an ecosystem founded on data-sharing, customer-centricity, and unbounded communication. And the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated the processes towards rapid, global, digital transformations.  

That’s because today’s business practices are all about efficiency, agility, flexibility, and customer-centricity. Customers want fast, omnichannel experiences. So we need the tech to support it. In this article we will run you through the challenges facing Telecommunications companies right now, and the digital solutions set to transform the industry in 2021 and for the future. 

Telecommunications challenges and trends 2020/2021

Telecoms is experiencing a time of rapid change. What with pandemic disruption and radically changing consumer expectations, the industry is navigating multiple challenges at once. From adapting to heightened consumer expectations to traversing a data-fuelled landscape, let’s take a look at some of the most notable challenges for telecommunications in 2021.

Challenge 1: Adapting to on-demand consumer expectations

One of the most widespread industry disruptions is the ever-growing normalisation of personalised consumer experiences. Today’s customers want tailored content and tiered pricing options (preferably including free or ad-supported offerings). Why? Well there are many contributing factors. For one, since the outbreak of Covid-19, household incomes have become increasingly precarious, forcing individuals and families to rethink their monthly spending habits. Adapting to changing consumer behavior is a must. Telecoms companies will need to prioritise high-quality, relevant, data-led content and engage in personalised targeted marketing with personalised recommendations..

Challenge 2: Data sharing and transparency blocks

Data sharing is driving innovation industry-wide. Data security is now a must when it comes to maintaining customer trust. Data sharing improves services, increases efficiency, and creates new business opportunities. But mass data sharing also brings with it a mounting security challenge. Attackers target data source vulnerabilities and it is the responsibility of Telecoms providers to understand, and counter these very real threats and provide their customers with secure services. In fact,  a recent study from GSMA revealed that 72.5% of individuals rate their level of concern as high or medium when it comes to the potential impact of 5G on security. Other data concerns include: 

  • Cloud data leakage
  • Supply chain threats
  • Software threats
  • Device threats
  • How to secure 5G
  • IoT data vulnerabilities 
  • Signalling service vulnerabilities

Challenge 3: Compliance

Regulations are constantly changing, due to the rapid rate of technological change and innovation today, and make it increasingly difficult to navigate. The rapid transition to internet-based telecommunications networks has meant that market definitions have had to broaden to include a flexible, widespread, global market.

Due to the use of customer data in the Telecoms industry, new protective regulations are being enacted which may, in some cases, hinder the monetisation of client data.As of 2021 the European Commission has updated its European Electronic Communications Code which, amongst other things, sets out to enhance consumer choices and rights. But in the UK, compliance has been complicated further by post-Brexit uncertainties. In fact, according to UK government advice, ‘parts of the UK electronic communications regulatory framework is no longer appropriate without corrections’.

Challenge 4: Removal of brick-and-mortar store engagement due to covid

The pandemic has changed everything. And it has hit some industries more than others. Telecommunications is one of them. The removal of brick-and-mortar store engagement during national lockdowns and restrictions has meant that telecommunications companies have been in exceptionally high demand. 

Telecoms is keeping businesses, organisations, and families connected and operational and an ongoing shift to remote work is driving demand for networking infrastructure and connectivity. According to KPMG Advisory, since the pandemic, demand for residential broadband has increased dramatically, reporting a 212 percent increase in VoIP/ VIDEO conferencing and a 40% jump in VPN traffic. In order to manage this demand increase, companies must continue to increase their service quality and capacity.

Challenge 5: Operational – infrastructure

One of the biggest ongoing challenges facing the sector is the radically changing operational infrastructure. Telecommunications providers are realising that they will need to upgrade their IT and connectivity infrastructure in order to remain competitive and provide customers with the reliable, secure, flexible services that they want. And, of course, this incurs costs. So, let’s talk about 5G. Operators are upgrading their networks at a lightning speed. But 5G implementation comes with a significant learning curve. 5G is an entirely new type of network that comes with its own foundational technologies and security risks.

Challenge 6: Disruptive competition

Disruptive competition was the top strategic challenge facing Telecoms businesses in 2020. Digital disruption is being felt far and wide as widespread digitisation shapes the industry landscape. The digital boom is making it increasingly difficult for telecommunications providers to grow and add value to their services. Here are some of the top trends disrupting the Telecoms industry right now. 

  • AI mobilisation- billions of new devices need to be connected to Telcos. 
  • Rise of 5G – introducing 5G networking requires huge investment. 
  • Embedded eSIM – Telcos risk losing their relationship with consumers.

Challenge 7: Management

Increased demand for improved telecommunications services comes hand in hand with additional management responsibilities. As Telecoms providers expand their portfolios, financial management in particular becomes increasingly complex. Disruptive competitors, offering low prices to their customers, leave operators with mounting financial pressures, and precarious profit margins whilst technological advancements increase the intensity of required capital investments. Telecoms operators have a problem controlling their capital expenditure and many are finding their current capex process to be a ‘deeply flawed and frustrating experience’. 

Digital transformation trends in Telecommunications

There’s no denying that this is a time of great change for Telecommunications providers the world over. Digital transformation is no longer an option. It’s a necessity. Why? Because we are navigating a completely new landscape. A landscape with its foundations firmly rooted in internet-based technology. 

That said, let’s discuss some of the top trends in Telecoms digital transformation in 2021.

Artificial intelligence

AI is becoming commonplace. Chatbots, Virtual Assistants, and process automations are fuelling business operations industry-wide. AI promises exceptional efficiency, financial savings, and big-data analysis that transforms business operations to a degree that manual processes never could. In the Telecoms industry that means improved customer service, heightened security, and predictive network maintenance.

5G networks

Thanks to 5G networks, Telecoms providers are now able to expand into new sectors thanks to automated processes that offer improved communications to online customers. 5G applications and IoT devices are a great way to target industry verticals. Plus, high-velocity networks promise better services, connectivity, and applications.

SDN

More and more Telecoms companies are investing in Software-defined-wide-area-network infrastructure (SDN). Due to rising traffic demands and the strain on resources faced by many Telecoms providers, SDN is now an essential investment criterion for any digital transformation.

Cloud expansion

The cloud is still pulling its weight and cloud adoption is continuing in its upward trajectory. More and more companies are adopting multi-cloud or hybrid-cloud solutions to meet their security, networking, and development needs, aiming to become more scalable, agile and cost efficient. 

Cybersecurity

With data sharing taking off like never before, cybersecurity is high on the agenda for most Telecoms operators at the moment. It is absolutely imperative that Telecoms providers protect themselves (and their users) against data theft and hacking. Security breaches are on the rise, so Telecoms providers must start making their data networks more secure.

Telecoms goes digital

Following suit in our increasingly digitised world, and hurried along pandemic conditions, the telecommunications industry is facing times of change. Demand is soaring as more and more individuals, businesses, and organisations rely more heavily on remote communications. As such, to meet burgeoning demand and evolving industry dynamics, Telecoms providers must embrace widespread digital transformation for the future.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help Telecommunications companies embrace digital transformation, email us at marketing@whishworks.com

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