2023 is coming to an end.In this article we explore the four 2023 Telecom Trends that have not only redefined the telecoms landscape but also set the stage for future advancements.
From the revolutionary strides in artificial intelligence to the critical importance of indoor coverage, the emergence of private mobile networks, and the transition from traditional 2G/3G to Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies.
Each trend highlights a unique aspect of the industry’s evolution. These developments, spearheaded by companies like Teragence, have not only transformed how we think about connectivity and communication but also opened new avenues for efficiency, customer engagement, and technological prowess.
As we explore these trends, we gain insights into how they have collectively shaped the telecoms industry in 2023, paving the way for continued innovation and growth in the years to come:
- The AI Revolution in Telecoms
- The Growing Importance of Indoor Coverage
- The Emergence of Private Mobile Networks
- The Emergence of Private Mobile Networks
1. The AI Revolution in Telecoms
No discussion of any domain, tech or otherwise, can get around touching on chat-gpt and generative AI. 2023 was the year that AI moved beyond pattern recognition and started to generate words, sounds and images which looked and felt eerily human.
The most obvious applications immediately came in the customer service domain: clunky chatbots were transformed into conversationally adept counter-parties actually answering customer’s questions. It also opened the door for all kinds of pranks and jokes, such as the person who convinced a chatbot to sell him a Chevy for a dollar. Or it can be used to create new forms of cyber-risk, such as voice-cloning, which, in turn, can be used to bypass voice recognition systems used by banks.
In the telecoms networking domain, Generative AI is finding in applications in network management and optimisation, aligning network planning and optimisation with customer experience and QoS, thereby delivering on the promise of Self Optimising Networks. More interesting applications come where AI is used to generate training for other AI’s to learn more about possible edge case scenarios.
We as Teragence have been using AI-style algorithms for a while to generate our mobile network coverage mapping solutions. We are continuously updating and tuning these algorithms and we will continue to do so in 2024.
2. The Growing Importance of Indoor Mobile Coverage
Indoor mobile coverage has become a major talking point in the industry over the past 12 months. This is the result of the convergence of 3 separate trends:
- Mobile networks with 5G moving into higher spectrum bands which carry less far and have more trouble penetrating dens materials.
- Modern building standards in terms of insulation and heat loss are driving towards denser walls and materials which are not very “radio friendly”, turning modern buildings more and more into Faradya cages.
- Companies need to convince their people to come to the office. They can no longer demand it. This means that modern commercial buildings need to have all the mod cons, including good indoor mobile reception.
The market has responded to these demands in 2 ways: on the one hand there is a greater focus on disclosure about mobile coverage, very much in the same way that energy ratings are now a standard part of the disclosure of any property.
WiredScore, a company that specialises in the “digital certification” of commercial property now also includes an indoor mobile coverage scoring as part of its overall digital certification. And in November of this year he National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) just published a new guidance on the information to be included in a residential property listing (for rent or sale). This now includes information about broadband and mobile coverage.
The second market response is in the wave of specialised providers delivering indoor mobile connectivity services. Companies such as Boldyn and Freshwave in the UK have carved out profitable lines of business providing indoor mobile coverage solutions through neutral hosts, DAS systems and so-called “boosters”.
Teragence has been supporting various players in the indoor mobile coverage ecosystem with its algorithmic indoor coverage assessments and we hope to continue to do so in 2024.
3. The Emergence of Private Mobile Networks
Private networks, rather than network slicing, are increasingly used by companies sectors such as in manufacturing and logistics to provide high-qualtiy wireless connectivity to their on-premise employees, customers and infrastructure.
According to market research firm Berg Insight, 3,000 private wireless networks were deployed in 2023, up 50% from the previous year. And most analysts predict a CAGR of 20-50% for the next 3-5 years. We have certainly seen a rising interest in this technology over the past 12 months.
And we have been supporting this trend in various ways: our Cell coverage solution maps out the footprint of every public network base station, enabling our customers to create “pseudo-roaming” solution between public and private cellular networks.
We have also adapted our crowdsourcing data collection mechanism to support data collection form private networks, creating a ground-up view of the mobile coverage delivered and identifying any network weak spots.
4. Network Evolution: From 2G/3G to LPWAN
2G and 3G network shutdowns continued apace in 2023. In the UK Vodafone will have totally removed 3G by the end of this year, followed closely by EE who are shutting down by the end of January 2024. This is creating a myriad of challenges for the early adopters of IoT whose IoT devices are running on 2G and 3G connectivity. At the same time, LPWAN technologies such as NB-IOT and LTE-M are becoming more ubiquitous.
These technologies are sometimes amalgamated with 5G, but we think this is a mistake. In many ways they are the polar opposite: whereas 5G is all about high-bandwidth, low latency connections operating on higher frequency, LPWAN technologies are about low-bandwidth, high latency connections operating on lower frequencies (an therefore with a wider reach on lower battery drain).
A whole host of specialised LPWAN network providers have sprung up. These providers rely on the radio networks provided by the incumbents, and therefore by definition on the coverage information provided by these incumbents.
We as Teragence rolled out our LPWAN Signal Checker, enabling IOT ecosystem players to accurately check the availability and coverage of cellular LPWAN technologies at different locations.
Conclusion: A Year of Transformative Changes in Telecoms
2023 has been a very exciting and interesting year for the mobile telecoms industry. We as Teragence have enjoyed making our mark across these 4 key technology trends. With our partners and customers, we look forward to continue to do so in 2024.
If you want to know more about how Teragence can help with your mobile connectivity questions, get in touch with us.