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2023 telecommunications industry outlook

Five key trends shaping the telecom landscape

In the year ahead, telecommunications companies will be focussed on delivering advanced connectivity and higher performance to customers while reinforcing value and competitiveness. Our 2023 outlook examines five trends shaping telecom industry growth and business strategy, from 5G monetisation to edge computing to an increasing focus on sustainability.

Preparing for a strong, resilient future

Telecom industry growth continues to be driven by the continued importance of connectivity, bringing both opportunities and challenges for communications service providers (CSPs). This year’s telecom outlook explores how CSPs are delivering value to consumer and enterprise customers with bundled services and connectivity options like 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) and fiber, as well as their role in meeting the growing demand for edge computing. We’ll also consider how CSPs may want to balance pricing decisions with the need to accelerate deployment of infrastructure like fiber networks, while attending to the growing urgency to reduce resources, waste and emissions from network operations, upgrades and deployments. As connectivity works its way into more of the world, it may be more imperative than ever to balance costs with the needs of households, businesses, communities and the environment.

Some of the specific themes we see playing a critical role in 2023 and beyond include the following:

  • The bundle battle: Add more value for cost-conscious consumers. For individuals and families, connectivity is important. Yet, consumers often have cost constraints that can limit their options or drive them to seek the best service at the lowest price. To offer more value to consumers, many CSPs are bundling mobile and home internet access, offering connectivity options like fiber and 5G FWA, and partnering with entertainment services to include subsidized or free subscriptions.
  • Fixed wireless access surges, but will it endure? As part of this “bundle battle,” 5G FWA has enjoyed substantial growth. This type of connectivity can provide strong reliability, but some questions remain about how much it can scale. As more people use 5G services and if more bandwidth-intensive “killer apps” emerge, the limits of 5G FWA could be exposed. However, market dynamics and next-gen technology solutions could overcome these challenges.
  • What enterprises want from 5G edge. For enterprise customers, the need to cut costs, automate capabilities and support innovation is driving interest and adoption of edge computing. CSPs will likely need partners to develop and deploy edge solutions, requiring more cooperation with erstwhile competitors.
  • Joint ventures accelerate deployment of fiber networks. Many of the connectivity solutions we cover rely on fiber networks. With high demand, strong competition and the need to optimise costs and risk, more CSPs are partnering with private investors to accelerate deployment of fiber networks.
  • Increase the focus on sustainability. In doing so, these partnerships can support existing customers while extending further into underserved communities, helping to narrow the digital divide—the gap between those who have access to modern information and communication technologies and those who don’t. This aspect tugs at the broader economic imperative of connectivity: more bandwidth, more equally distributed, enabling greater access to education and opportunity.

Download the full report to learn more about the impacts of telecom industry trends, key actions to take and critical questions to ask.

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