Digital telecom: how technology is remodeling telecommunications

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The telecom sector, which has been an innovation enabler for several sectors, is on the cusp of digital transformation. Emerging technologies such as AI, IoT, and 5G are influencing telcos not only on the operations side but also how they interact with customers. New business models are in play indicating a shift from product based to platform-based ones. The telecom sector is often challenged by the growing concerns over factors like commoditization and convergence. Technological advancements are impacting the telecom sector where a major chunk of adoption is being witnessed around 5G. Cloud, and digitization. This reflects their abilities to allow for efficient connectivity among advanced connectivity, network optimization, and pervasive computing. The use cases of emerging technologies in the telecom sector are spreading across the sector value chain to maximize output, minimize risks, and control costs.

What are the key strategic challenges faced in the telecom sector?

The key challenged faced in the telecom sector include:

Convergence: Telcos have an established conduit into homes and businesses and need to use that as the basis for a new range of value-added services and engagements.

Integration: Historical internal separation along strict fixed and mobile lines of business no longer supports telco operational reality. 

Disruption: As vertical industry lines become blurred and digitalization fuels new market entrants, telcos face direct competition from non-traditional players. 

Commoditization: Traditional telco business models based on simple connectivity are no longer tenable as access becomes cheap and ubiquitous. 

Digitalization: As daily life and work shift online; telco services need to evolve to match that digitally powered expectation

Which technologies are helping the telecom sector?

3D printing, 5G, AI, AR, blockchain, cloud, data analytics, digitization, edge computing, and IoT are the technologies that are helping the sector. Technological advancements are impacting the telecom sector where a major chunk of adoption is being witnessed around 5G, cloud, and digitization.

Digital telecom sector, by key technologies

Digital telecom sector, by key technologies

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What are the key use cases of emerging technologies in the telecom sector value chain?

The value chain consists of infrastructure, network, connectivity, services, and devices and apps.

Infrastructure: Enabling technologies such as 3D printing, data analytics, and IoT are driving innovation in the infrastructure value chain. Key vendors are leveraging 3D printing technology to produce satellites or telecom components at a much faster speed than traditional manufacturing techniques. For instance, Airbus Defense and Space (Airbus) has introduced 3 D printing to produce radiofrequency (RF) components of telecommunications satellites. It has developed RF components utilizing additive layer manufacturing (ALM) technology for two Eurostar Neo spacecrafts that could join the in orbit fleet of Eutelsat, a major communications provider in Europe.    

Network: AI and digitization technologies are being used for network security and optimization to increase the reliability and security. Automated BSS offers an elastic and convergent system in a virtualized environment that can fetch CSPs an edge over competitors with the efficient roll out of 5G services. For instance, Huawei has launched the ‘Convergent Billing System’ (CBS) R20, a unified monetization system that helps cellular service provider (CSPs) to lower their operational expenses and throughput of the 5G service-based billing interface. The platform incorporates self-developed high-performance codec algorithms, HTTP stacks to reduce end-to-end billing response time. It is capable of handling 5G-enabled services like a live broadcast, VR gaming, drone delivery, and vertical application. 

Connectivity: Connectivity value chain is crucial in the telecom sector where most players are leveraging 5G to enhance network connectivity. 5G connectivity is impacting how we work as well as play online games with its features of lower latency, higher capacity, and increased bandwidth compared to 4G. British connectivity solution provider startup FloLive has built cloud-based software defined connectivity solution floNET. It combines private, local cellular networks to create private global IoT 5G networks for its customers with inherent billing

Services: Digital technologies such as AR and cloud are modernizing the services portfolio of companies. Cloud marketplaces offer cloud application developers and architects with the ready means of online access and use of software applications and services. California’s cybersecurity technology company CrowdStrike has rolled out a new marketplace CrowdStrike Store for SaaS cybersecurity applications for enterprises. The store is built on the cloud-delivered open ecosystem CrowdStrike Falcon platform and is coupled with the CrowdStrike Threat Graph AI-powered analytics engine. CrowdStrike Store enables its users to discover, deploy, and manage certified third-party applications and add-ons to solve different security and compliance use cases.

Devices and Apps: The benefits of emerging technologies are seen notably in the devices and apps value chain where 5G, digitization, and cloud are helping with 5G enabled devices, pervasive computing, and content streaming. Telecom equipment providers are introducing next-generation 5G products such as industrial-grade 5G routers to support fast-rolling 5G networks. Siemens has made its industrial 5G based router ‘Scalance MUM856-1’ available for industrial applications, including mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics, and AR for service personnel. The router with its IP 65 casing can be used outside the control cabinet in difficult circumstances in manufacturing or outdoor facilities.

Market report scope

Outlook Year 2021
Emerging Technologies Infrastructure, Network, Connectivity, Services and Devices and Apps


This report provides an in-depth analysis of the following. It provides:

  • Innovation Map: key real-world innovation use cases of emerging technologies implemented by enterprises and startups in the sector.
  • Innovation Insights: innovation examples by each value chain segment of the sector to present key trends.
  • Vendor Map: represents a sample list of vendors in each use case highlighted in the report.

Reasons to Buy

  • No surprise that technology has been a driving force in business transformation for years, but the term ‘emerging technologies’ has all of the sudden become the key catalyst to drive the next wave of innovation across sectors.
  • The sense of urgency weighs different across different sectors, where the direct customer-facing sectors are at the forefront compared to other capital-intensive sectors. Companies in one sector can take cues from successful innovations in other sectors to either draw analogies with existing products, services, and processes or transfer strategic approaches for a revolutionary transformation.
  • Against this backdrop, enterprises need to understand which emerging technologies are impacting their sector and how various companies are implementing them to meet various challenges.
  • The innovation landscape report in telecom, published by GlobalData as part of an ongoing series, covers some of the key trends, use cases, and real-world examples related to the implementation of emerging technologies across the telecom sector value chain.

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CITIC Telecom
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Table of Contents

1. Sector innovation insights: overview

2. What are the key sector strategic challenges faced?

3. Which technologies are helping the sector?

4. Innovation map by sector value chain: key use cases

4.1 Infrastructure

4.2 Network

4.3 Connectivity

4.4 Services

4.5 Devices & Apps

5. Vendor map by sector value chain: key use cases

6. Methodology

Frequently asked questions

  • Which are the key emerging technologies helping the telecom sector?

    3D printing, 5G, AI, AR, blockchain, cloud, data analytics, digitization, edge computing, and IoT are the technologies that are helping the telecom sector. Technological advancements are impacting the telecom sector where a major chunk of adoption is being witnessed around 5G, cloud, and digitization.

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