In 2022, the telecom industry will face new opportunities and challenges presented by a dynamic regulatory, technological, and competitive environment. Our annual outlook dials into the biggest trends shaping the telecommunications industry, from more competitive broadband markets to cybersecurity in the 5G era.
Keeping up with new networks, services, and applications
The telecom sector continued to make progress in augmenting its network capacity with additional fiber and wireless deployments to meet the constant demand for higher-speed networks in 2021. However, as we start the new year, we see an emerging set of issues and opportunities presented by a dynamic regulatory, technological, and competitive environment that may influence the sector’s progress in the coming year:
The potential for more competitive broadband markets. Faster mobile and fixed wireless connections create more viable alternatives to wired connections and new opportunities for bundled service offerings and business models for service providers. With ever-expanding options for high-quality communication and internet services from telecom, cable, wireless, and satellite internet providers, consumers will enjoy enhanced flexibility in purchasing and consuming services in the new year. However, these trends may also lead to a more competitive environment in 2022.
A shift to more decentralized government broadband infrastructure funding. The $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed in November earmarks $65 billion for continued broadband adoption and deployment. While government programs dedicated to expanding and improving telecommunication infrastructure and services have traditionally been managed at the federal level, it appears the bulk of the bill’s federally allocated broadband dollars will flow through more decentralized state-based models.
Rising interest in multi-access edge computing and private cellular networks. The enterprise market for private cellular networks and edge computing is gaining momentum. The market is still nascent but promises to be competitive, with many different players vying for their share. Network operators will have to compete against other players, who may prove key partners in delivering their solutions. Ecosystem players will likely begin to stake out and define their role in this emerging but rapidly evolving market in the coming year.
The need to reassess cybersecurity and risk management in the 5G era. While the widespread adoption of 5G offers many benefits, it also creates new security concerns and challenges. As operators have taken steps to evaluate and minimize threats arising from 5G and software-centric networks in their own organizations, they are in a unique position to offer 5G security services to enterprises seeking to deploy their own advanced wireless networks.