Dramatic changes ahead for the ICT sector

Guy Daniels
By Guy Daniels

Mar 5, 2014

Research firm Strategy Analytics anticipates dramatic changes across both fixed and mobile platforms in the communications networks, content and technology markets by 2020. Fueling the continued innovation will be ever faster, more agile, ubiquitous, virtualised networks and cloud services, alongside pervasive energy sensors and ad hoc networks for the Internet of Things sector.

In its 2020 Vision report, it also believes that operator consolidation will result in a maximum of three players in a given market as network sharing becomes commonplace.

By 2020, network architectures built on SDN and hybrid self-optimizing networks (SON) will become the norm. Next generation network technology will become fluid as 5G services start to emerge.

“These new network architectures will help to ‘close the scissor gap’ as falling costs per gigabyte align with the rate of revenue per GB decline,” said Sue Rudd, Director of Wireless Networks and Platforms at Strategy Analytics. “Revenue per GB fell more than twice as fast as costs between 2010 and 2013, but rates of change could equalize towards the end of this decade.”

The likely success of the Internet of Things will depend on ubiquitous energy harvesting and ad-hoc sensor networks, according to the report. These developments will be under way by 2020, and will eventually transform industrial processes, consumer applications, healthcare and government.

“The realisation of the third industrial revolution will be driven by Cloud computing, Big Data analytics and the consumerisation of business services,” said Andrew Brown, Executive Director Enterprise Mobility and M2M. “IoT developments and M2M will create new partnerships with disruptive new business models.”

Spectrum will continue to be of paramount importance to operators, but the report says it will be harder to keep exclusive control of spectrum real estate as new licensing paradigms take hold. This echos the research done recently by Deloitte on behalf of the GSMA on spectrum sharing.

“5G networks will still be in their infancy in 2020, but the small number of early commercial networks will be in Asia-Pacific that will dominate the first wave again," added Phil Kendall, Executive Director of Wireless Operator Strategies.

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