The future of telecommunications and internet access networks

17 / 05 / 2022

Adrián Patrón Gil
May 17th is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of internet access and other information technologies to guarantee social and economic development.

More and more countries are considering the Internet as a fundamental right of their citizens, putting this service at levels as elementary as water, education or housing.

This day, we want to review the great challenges that this industry is facing. Especially in recent years, Internet access has become a first-rate commodity due to the rapid increase in the global penetration rate (according to We Are Social, almost 5 billion people are Internet users) and its increase as the main mean of information, a trend accelerated by the pandemic.

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The confinement measures implemented in the countries accelerated the transformation of citizens' consumption habits and increased the number of daily activities carried out 100% online. Any user can buy all kinds of products and services, order food at a restaurant, carry out banking operations, procedures with the public administration, work and even receive medical care from home.

Now, where is the future of telecommunications companies headed? What aspects involve the massive use of these networks for users?

Business model transformation

After significant investments in infrastructure, telecommunications companies now have a very robust global access platform in Spain. However, with the entry of new mobile virtual network operators (IPOs) in 2008, the sector was involved in a fierce price war that forced companies to make changes in their structures and business models.

The large companies chose to create new, more competitive brands, to share their own networks to save costs, to invest in technology and to provide the user with a unique range of services.

Within this package of services we find the creation of digital content more strongly than ever. Wanting to get on the train of large companies such as Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime, their offers already have a "base service" for access, accompanied by a wide catalog of series, movies, documentaries and sports.

Another trend -that is marked by the big technology companies such as Uber or Amazon-, is the digititalization of the contracting and consumption experience of a service. These companies are characterized by their decentralized models, where access technology serves as the main commercial platform for their customers, and by a strong investment in Logistics 4.0 to reduce response times to the maximum and provide a rapid response to the needs of their customers.

This technology and a mature 5G access network will represent a significant change in the activity of telecommunications companies since it will considerably simplify the system for delivering telecommunications services. Home network installation work involving the laying of last-mile connections, installation of accessories, as well as DIY inside the user's home may be replaced by sending a CPE (router) to access the network wirelessly and preconfigured according to the installation region, drastically reducing installation costs and times.

As we already know, 5G will bring about a considerable increase in browsing speed, but it also has other great advantages such as greater bandwidth and reduced latency. In other words, the 5G network will be able to host more connected devices with almost immediate response time. This will drive a trend that we already know as the IoT (Internet of Things) that will allow connecting all kinds of smart devices in the home.

The connection of more devices also implies an increase in the capacity to store and process data, which reopens the debate on how to guarantee the security and privacy of users. Every time the user makes use of access networks, whether in home automation devices, music lists, shopping lists, etc., they are offering very valuable information to companies that allows them to know their consumption habits, learn from them and even anticipate your needs. It will be necessary for these companies to devise an attractive offer of services so that users, increasingly aware of their privacy, are willing to give up their data in favor of greater comfort.

In short, we are facing a profound transformation of the global product and service marketing model that will only accelerate in the coming years.