It’s shaping up to be a massive year of growth for 5G, with major telecom providers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T competing for market dominance. Over the next several months, we should see large-scale domestic rollouts of 5G networks, as mmWave deployments bring multi-gigabit data speeds to high-capacity areas and businesses and consumers continue to adopt 5G-enabled services.
As 5G networks take shape and evolve from concept to reality, telcos will continue accelerating their digital transformation efforts to tap into the $13.2 trillion economic opportunity that the standard promises.
To this end, major telecom providers are now modernizing their business support systems (BSS) and workforces to capitalize on emerging monetization opportunities and offset declining core revenue streams — like voice and text messaging.
For example, Gartner predicts that by 2022, 25% of newly automated communications service provider (CSP) processes will employ machine learning. And by 2023, over 35% of roles in CSP organizations will be new or redesigned; currently, there is fierce demand in the telco space for data scientists, AI domain experts, and engineers.
As you can see, things are moving quickly in the CSP space, and it’s having a profound impact on BSS technology. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how BSS is evolving in 2021.
3 Telco Industry Trends to Track in 2021 and Beyond
To give you a better idea of just how BSS will evolve in 2021 and beyond, here are three popular telco industry trends we expect to see more and more of this year.
The shift to microservices will accelerate
Telcos are adjusting their delivery models to accommodate use cases like immersive AR and VR gaming and 3D video on demand. In fact, IDC predicts that, by 2027, 50% of telcos are going to adopt a DevOps mindset and roll out digital services congruent to the over-the-top (OTT) model.
As telcos embrace DevOps strategies, many are transforming their IT architectures and replacing outdated legacy systems and monolithic applications with agile, cloud-based microservices architecture.
In doing so, telcos are making their BSS and OSS systems faster, more effective, and more reliable. The shift to microservices is also providing a dynamic foundation that’s enabling telcos to respond to shifting consumer usage patterns and roll out new features faster.
Network brokerage will increase
Telcos are spending massive amounts of money on 5G builds. According to Accenture, total telco operator spending on 5G should reach $275 billion nationwide through 2025 as they invest in the underlying frameworks needed to support the new standard. At the same time, telcos still need to support and maintain 4G LTE networks to ensure optimal customer experiences during the transition to 5G.
To reduce costly 5G builds, carriers need to drive shared value through connected ecosystems. One way to do this is by leveraging technology that supports network splicing. Companies that effectively broker networks can reduce CAPEX and OPEX, in turn enabling them to offer more competitive 5G services to consumers.
To accomplish this, telcos need to implement modern policy control function (PCF) and charging function (CHF) solutions, ingesting data from multiple channels and processing it rapidly to offer lightning-fast service with real-time visibility and user-specific billing. For this to happen, data decisioning needs to occur in sub-10ms timeframes as opposed to 100ms or longer.
NoSQL is disappearing from telco environments
Data management will take center stage in 2021, as companies increase digital transformation and build data products and teams. The volume and variety of data are increasing at a rapid pace and telcos are looking for ways to streamline discovery, analysis, sharing, and visibility.
Many telcos are now abandoning NoSQL technology as it does not provide the performance requirements today’s telco use cases mandate. NoSQL’s biggest drawback is that it doesn’t support atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability (ACID) compliance, making it a very tough-to-employ database model for modern telcos.
Over the course of the next year, look for telcos to migrate to NewSQL databases that are capable of supporting real-time transactions at scale. NewSQL offers the ACID compliance that traditional RDBMS are known for with the horizontal scalability that made NoSQL popular.
The Road to 5G Monetization Starts Now
For years, industry pundits have been talking about the coming era of 5G and how it promises to reshape all aspects of society. That time has arrived, but for right now it applies mainly to enterprises, and telcos need to move quickly to capitalize on it in order to remain relevant and competitive.
In many ways, the telecom space is merging with the agile technologies and methodologies of the technology industry. As such, CSPs would be wise to ensure that the legacy telco technologies they rely on give way to modern solutions that can meet the evolving needs of today’s businesses and consumers.
To learn more about telco industry trends and how Volt Active Data can help bring your telco organization into the 5G era, request a demo today.