From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT), digitization and new technologies are having a huge impact on the telecom industry. What are the Telecom Trends for the coming years?

Changing consumer habits, an intensifying competitive landscape, changing regulations and cyber risks mean that telecom providers must ask themselves hard questions about their strategy and offerings.

This climate not only puts further pressure on margins, it can also determine your survival.

That means telcos in the new 5G era must prioritize identifying new services and revenue streams and winning hearts of an increasingly critical and demanding customer base.

Telecom Trends for 2022 and Beyond

OliverWyman conducted a survey of 8,800 telecom users in eight countries. The key question was: how do they use services now and how do they feel about their provider?

A number of things emerged from the survey that we can think of as the Telecom Trends for 2022 and beyond:

Trend 1: the smartphone wins and continues to win

Technological advances are going to fundamentally change the way customers interact with their telecom provider.

When people have to choose, the smartphone often wins out

Telecom Trends 2022 1

49%

of people reach for the smartphone faster than the wallet when in a hurry.

Telecom Trends 2022 2

34%

finds it more important to fix a broken smartphone than a broken refrigerator.

Telecom Trends 2022 3

61%

would rather type in a destination on Google Maps than have to ask a passerby.

When rushing out of the house, 49% of respondents in the survey prefer to grab a smartphone and wallet.

In the future, the smartphone will completely replace the wallet, with zero touch being the new norm. Telcos must therefore work closely with partners, such as payment providers, to provide greater security through multifactor and biometric authentication.

For MSPs, this is a very important one to keep an eye on and actually an obvious one. For example, Google cried about its mobile first index years ago and mobile marketing is hotter than ever. A smartphone has become a body part, and you need to make sure you have a good spot there.

Trend 2: connectivity becomes a basic necessity of life

For 60 percent of respondents, connectivity is a major priority in life, as it helps to be accessible to those around them.

More than 60% of people consider connectedness and accessibility the most important thing about telecom services:

Being connected to important people 66%
Being reachable 57%
Entertainment 48%
Better time management 42%
Controlling devices in the home 34%

Top 5 most important daily activities:

Spending time with friends and family 44%
Sport or hobby 12%
Staying connected with a smartphone 11%
Travel 8%
Eating out and socializing 7%

In the future, unlimited connectivity is a given and basic necessity of life, so we will also see more and more things like homes connected to the Internet of Things. 5G is going to meet the increased need for bandwidth, but telcos need to forecast the right revenue pools.

Of course, that trend continues into the office, just as the landline phone was already disappearing from the desk there.

Trend 3: Customer loyalty is no longer taken for granted

Customer relationships are increasingly taking place virtually, so as a provider, you need to redeploy on brand experience to see stronger loyalty from customers. Covid has changed our whole way of working, and much of it is really permanent.

For example, a sales appointment really isn’t always on-site anymore, and service visits are also increasingly taking place digitally. How do you ensure that you also establish a good relationship with your customer digitally?

How can telecom providers be more relevant to their customers?

Top 3 areas for improvement:

Quality of service 60%
Reachability of support 28%
Flexibility, contract duration and cancellation 26%

Trend 4: customers want more flexibility

1 in 4 people want more flexibility in their contract and that number is increasing. Experts expect products and services to be completely adaptable in real time and through every channel in a few years. UCaaS is also going to grow massively in size, which is obviously good news.

Trend 5: Data security becomes a key component in propositions

Today, 1 in 4 customers has concerns about personal data retention. In a few years, therefore, data security will become a key component in operators’ brand. Cybersecurity will therefore become more risk-driven, rather than technology-focused.

Who do you trust with your data?

My bank 37%
My telecom provider 14%
Apple 13%
Amazon 13%
Google 10%
facebook 8%

A World of Telecom Trends, Problems – and Opportunities

No world is as exciting as the telecom world, and these telecom trends show that again. It’s a world that never stands still, and rising mobile data traffic, increased capital spending, aggressive competition, cyber threats and increased privacy needs are only going to make it more exciting.

The time is now to initiate lasting and meaningful change. In doing so, you can ask yourself several questions:

  • How do you move forward in connectivity? For example, IoT is going to open up new revenue streams, how can you capitalize on that?
  • How will you increase your customer’s trust and benefit from it?
  • How will you use customer data? With AI, you can vastly improve targeting and personalization and get an edge in your customer experience
  • How do you win the hearts of your customers? A good customer experience is golden and provides an important emotional connection between the operation and what the customer feels.

It’s a great time to be in telecom as the pace is picking up year by year. There is still much work ahead, though, if new technologies are to be applied intelligently and profitably. Central to this is putting the customer first and designing value propositions based on data.

By 2025, the telecom landscape will look very different. What will you tackle next year?