2019 looks set to be a pivotal year for the telecoms industry. With 5G edging towards a full launch, new use cases in cloud computing and Internet of Things are being deployed and driving greater-than-ever demand for high capacity, low latency connectivity.
As we start 2019, it’s important look at how these new demands are shaping the telecoms industry. There has been a distinct move away from just providing faster network speeds to businesses, and towards enabling a whole host of new technologies on mobile networks, meaning it’s vital for companies to assess which are simply hype, and which will lead to fruition in 2019.
Greater demand for mobile data
Mobile data usage is set to rise steeply over the next few years, with CCS Insights forecasts showing UK users could end up consuming 18Gb of data a month by 2021. Mobile and Fixed Network Operators will need to provide this, as consumers and businesses (not to mention technologies like smart city devices) increasingly rely on high-speed data access.
The first 5G devices are slated to hit the market sometime next year with the much-anticipated next-generation network that promises to completely change the data game in terms of speed and accessibility. Low-latency, high-bandwidth networks mean more connected things, cars and systems – and a boat load of AI, Machine Learning and Compute happening at the edge, because that’s where all the data will be generated.
Smart Cities and Communities
It won’t be long before we begin to see micro-hubs lining our streets that will also give rise to new “smart” opportunities for real-time insights happening on the corner of your street. Cities and towns will become more connected than ever, paving the way for smart cities and digital infrastructure that are predicted will be thriving in 2030. And it’ll be a game changer for industries like healthcare or manufacturing, where data and information being generated out in the field can be quickly processed and analysed in real time – versus having to travel back and forth to a cloud – and then readily shared with those who need it.
The UK is has progressed well in superfast broadband connectivity with more than 95% of premises covered. However, next generation Ethernet Circuits and Fibre-to-the Premises (FTTP) – or ‘full fibre’ – coverage is only 4%, where the UK lags behind current world leaders like South Korea (c.99%), and Japan (c.97%). Mobile coverage is also improving – 87% of UK landmass has a 4G signal from at least one operator (compared to 78% in 2017).
For the UK to be the best place to start and grow digital businesses, the government understands the need for greater public and private investment to build fixed and wireless networks that are fit for the future, and take advantage of the benefits of fixed and mobile convergence. The wide-scale deployment of these next generation technologies will underpin the UK’s modern Industrial Strategy in areas where the UK can lead the global technological revolution. Every part of the UK needs to be able to benefit from the significant economic developments that digital connectivity brings.
When looking at the speed, resilience and reliability that consumers want and businesses need in order to grow, it is clear that full fibre Ethernet and 5G with new standard 802.11ax WiFi are the long-term answer. These technologies have the potential to transform productivity and to open up new business models. Full fibre Ethernet networks are faster and more reliable than their copper predecessors. 5G will deliver faster and better mobile broadband, and enable revolutionary uses in industry sectors like manufacturing, health and transport.
The Government has set clear, ambitious targets for the availability of full fibre and 5G networks. They want to see 15 million premises connected to full fibre by 2025, with coverage across all parts of the country by 2033. We want the majority of the population to have 5G coverage by 2027.
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