The telecommunication industry has always been on the cusp of change and 2021 has been a year that’s amplified that position. It is ever-evolving just as every aspect of the way humans communicate is. Our language, the medium we use to convey a message, our speaking style, even body language is ever-changing. The top challenges in telecom this year actually looked a lot like they did to the Pony Express or to Alexander Graham Bell when he introduced the first transcontinental telephone.
Table of contents
- Demand for traditional services is decreasing
- The internet of things (IoT) and network security
- The rise of the conscious customer
- Future outlooks for the telecommunications industry
- How LiveVox can help
Telecom companies are still grappling with demand for ever-increasing communication speed, security concerns, and demand for further interconnectedness. There is, of course, the modern twist thrown in by the reams and reams of data we create every day.
What were the top challenges in telecom in 2021? How did the industry continue its response to COVID? What opportunities lay ahead?
We break it all down below.
The rollout of 5G is bringing many changes and challenges for the telecom industry. 5G touts improved data rates and low latency and it has the potential to change the telecom industry right to its core. With 5G, more data can flow with less delay. This increase in speed paves the way for alternatives to traditional communication routes. And, customers have less tolerance if speed or quality of service drops.
Why the fascination with speed? The better you can imitate a face-to-face conversation, the happier customers will be. Immediacy is the name of the game when providing your customer with service.
5G places higher standards on the services telecommunications companies provide. But, at the same time a way to meet those standards. Improved data rates and low latency mean better, faster ways to provide service to your customer.
Demand for traditional services is decreasing
Voice calls are no longer the number one way in which people communicate. For that matter, neither is traditional text messaging.
Messaging apps have drawn traffic away from traditional avenues of communication. Mobile messaging apps have more than 2 billion users. The appeal of messaging apps is that they:
- Meet customers where they already are.
- Have the ability to incorporate useful features such as ecommerce.
- Improve customer experience.
Video calls are also taking precedence over traditional voice calls. COVID-19 really expanded the way customers need to communicate with each other. Without the ability to meet face-to-face customers began to depend on video calls to achieve the in-person meetings they were missing out on.
Lastly, messaging, video, and voice calls are able to be carried out over wifi. Customers no longer depend on their cellular service provider to stay connected.
Telecommunication companies will be able to adapt to this shift. They can begin to work with messaging apps or even begin to incorporate some of their own messaging apps into the pool. Video calls can also be incorporated into the platforms or services telecommunications companies provide.
The internet of things (IoT) and network security
The scope of the internet of things (IoT) is large and getting larger. By definition, it is the network of things that are connected to the internet. Think smart climate control, pet treat dispensers, or wearables like the FitBit. Smartphones and PCs are generally excluded from the IoT. Data is collected from the IoT for the purpose of making the world a safer, healthier, and more productive place.
The IoT posed a few problems for telecommunications companies in 2020.
- The amount of data telecommunications companies are predicted to have to handle is massive. Tech analyst company IDC predicts there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices generating 79.4 zettabytes of data by 2025. Wow. That’s a lot of data.
- Network security. The IoT poses a major security threat to users simply in the way that it works. If the network things are connected to is not very secure, users are left vulnerable to attack. Take for example color changing light bulbs that you have the ability to change using a mobile app. Connect these lightbulbs to the internet using your wifi that is in turn also connected to your desktop computer. A nefarious passerby need only notice your color changing light bulbs to place a pretty safe bet on a successful next target.
Network security. The IoT poses a major security threat to users simply in the way that it works. One Challenge in the telecom industry is if the network that things are connected to is not very secure, users are left vulnerable to attack. Take for example color-changing light bulbs that you have the ability to change using a mobile app. Connect these lightbulbs to the internet using your wifi that is in turn also connected to your desktop computer. A nefarious passerby need only notice your color-changing light bulbs to place a pretty safe bet on a successful next target.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can have the devices “learn” from their data and experience. Telecommunication companies can then leverage this data to improve upon their networks, making them more secure simply by the input of the devices using them. And, while there is so much data, AI can help suss and sort what is helpful in improving the system.
The rise of the conscious customer
An IEEE study found telecommunications companies are some of the biggest consumers of energy. In 2021, customers increasingly demand providers of goods and services to be green and ethical (or at the very least, making strides towards achieving this goal).
While this poses a problem in terms of needing to rework and upgrade a system, in the long run, telecommunications companies will benefit from this shift. Green energy is cheaper energy and appealing to customers’ demands is always beneficial. Earning a B corp certification can take telecommunications far.
Future outlooks for the telecommunications industry
As it always has, the challenges in the telecom industry is changing quickly and telecom industry challenges continue to evolve. With careful planning and foresight about lessons learned in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, network operators can set their sights on a promising 2022. Here are a few likely outcomes to expect.
Set a renewed focus on customer needs
For a long time, the telecom sector was dominated by a few major players who largely controlled the market and as a result, didn’t have to worry too much about what customers wanted. The rise of IoT and 5G, as well as novel messaging apps, has changed that, as customers have more choices for how they communicate and can “cut the cord” from lackluster service providers more easily. This shift is driving a more nuanced approach to customer engagement that favors personalization over pushy mass marketing. Forward-thinking telecom organizations will capitalize on this drawing upon their vast reserve of customer data to create more personalized messaging, tailored product recommendations, and user-centric services.
Solving a telecom challenge by repositioning your services
The days of locked-in contracts and fixed-price services are fading. Taking their place are flexible service plans and customizable bundles focused on what the customer wants and needs. It’s a positive change in terms of serving the customer, but it will also require some hefty business process changes. Being able to communicate clearly with customers and having ample channels available for them to communicate with you is key in introducing and selling next-gen products and services.
There are new market opportunities in “As A Service” businesses
Digital transformation is driving a new crop of “as a service” businesses that capitalize on advanced wireless technology; infrastructure as a service, enterprise IT as a service, and storage as a service are a few such examples. Companies that can pinpoint industry-specific needs and develop corresponding as-a-service applications will enjoy a highly lucrative market opportunity.
How LiveVox can help
The way we do business has changed, both as a result of advancing technology and unprecedented circumstances stemming from COVID-19. Is your organization poised to keep up with the shift? LiveVox can help you rethink the traditional way of doing things, leveraging technology to better understand your customers’ preferences and respond to their changing needs.
LiveVox is a cloud contact center platform that delivers frictionless experiences through a single view of the customer. By enabling seamless transitions from voice to text to digital channels, our cloud-based platform provides the truly omnichannel solution modern customers demand. With an unbroken conversation thread across channels and important customer information at their fingertips, agents can resolve issues faster and provide more personalized service.
LiveVox was founded in 2000 and has been leading the way in cloud services ever since. From artificial intelligence to speech analytics to automated compliance, we’re constantly working to pioneer technologies that put our clients on the cutting edge in their respective fields. With more than 500 global employees and offices around the world, we’re equipped with the depth and expertise to solve your unique business challenges.
Telecom Industry FAQs
The top challenges to the telecom industry includes 5G, changes from traditional services, the internet of things (IoT), and the rise of the conscious customer.