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Top 5 Trends Forecasted for Telco Operations’ and Network Automation’s Growing Impact  

Written By Brent Hunter
Jul 20, 2023

There’s no end in sight for the more-than-fair share of technological advancements the telecommunications sector has seen. 

And with change, comes challenges. The infrastructures that establish digital communication and connectivity that nearly everyone depends on are in regular, ongoing need of upgrades, which calls for significant investments in building and maintaining them.  

Much of the relevant decision-making comes from Communication Service Providers (CSPs). It’s based on forecasted demands for future generation services, exceeding $50 billion over the next five years, with the majority of investments going to 5G (47 percent) and automation of network operations and services (34 percent).  

The world, at its fingertips, has 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and automation, and these technologies can work together to empower and enhance each other. Within this collection, automation of CSP networks is gaining ground in being known for its enablement of service diversification, supporting revenue generation, and backing the investment with ROI industry expectations 

In 2023, Resolve aided Telecoms.com in their Telecom Ops Survey Report, which found the top tech trends that will define the next year for the telecoms industry, as well as influence investment decisions. 

Researchers determined top priorities for industry giants, examined the most pressing challenges for the industry’s business, and dug deep into automation’s ability to assess the most critical business areas and roadblocks. Plus, the survey revealed how far along telcos are when it comes to implementing network automation.  

The Top 5 Trends Forecasted for 2023 Telecom Operations 

1. Telco service diversification and value-added services (VAS) 

As the top dog, according to 50 percent of survey respondents, telco service diversification and VAS are in agreement with top investment areas of 5G and automating NetOps and services, as 5G has introduced network slicing, private networks, and ultra-low latency.  

According to the survey report, telco service diversification like latency-based pricing tiers, SLA-driven network exposure, and ecosystem collaborations will enable telcos to support vertical industries in their digitalization efforts. Diversifications will often occur alongside existing connectivity services like enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and Fixed-Wireless-Access (FWA).  

2. Acceleration of Cloud Transformation 

Forty-two percent of respondents said acceleration of cloud transformation will be the second focus for telecom operations.  

The deployment of 5G core, with its cloud-native architecture, naturally aligns with the trend. For now, it’s primarily being planned for and implemented in the private cloud. Only 2 percent constitutes private cloud offered by hyperscale or large cloud solution providers, Telecoms reported.  

3. Increased deployment of AI/ML 

AI and ML were bound to make the list of top trends, getting the vote from 42 percent of respondents. They’re all the talk when it comes to telco industry benefits.  

The survey report cited McKinsey & Company’s findings that between 60 and 70 percent of telco operating budgets go to field and service operations. Add AI, and there’s greater support for a multitude of tasks, including the improvement of network operations and forecasting maintenance schedules, enhancing contact center operations and customer experiences; improving retail experiences and monetization of networks.  

Telcos are, and will continue, to adopt AI, ML, automation, and other technologies to innovate their operations and sail through business challenges.  

4. Harvesting Data and Turning it into Actionable Insights  

About a quarter (23 percent) of respondents backed harvesting data and turning it into actionable insights as a top trend.  

Telcos are increasingly using big data to drive business growth, enhance their services, and elevate customer satisfaction. Big data analytics shed light on ideal ways to improve quality, as well as generate insights into user behavior, like real-time and location-based preferences, for example.  

Actionable insights are those that reflect a company’s objectives and actually add value, tell an engaging story of business performance, and provide knowledge needed to make the best decisions.  

5. The Uptake of Edge Computing 

Last but not least, edge computing rallied in 21 percent of the vote. Edge computing is all about expediting data processing near the source of data generation, getting users closer to real-time insights. 

“Servers deployed in 5G cellular base stations will host applications and cache content for local subscribers, without having to send traffic through a congested backbone network,” Gartner’s senior research director, Santhosh Rao said.  

Edge computing, with automation, will likely continue to help overburdened IT teams keep up with the scale of their infrastructure and the diversity of technologies it supports. 

E-BOOK: 6 Automations to Accelerate IT Operations 

Network Automation Implementation: “Are We There Yet?” 

The survey report showed that exactly half of respondents are over, or near, a milestone in their automation journeys. Twenty percent said they’d already implemented network automation, and 30 percent said they’re close to embarking on their journeys. The rest of the respondents said their journeys are at least a year out, or not a priority at all.  

Automation can carry businesses through challenges with ease and efficiency, so it’s no surprise that many companies have begun using it to their advantages. Telco organizations are realizing the value in automating their networks, and therefore, are taking action sooner rather than later.  

Costs are rising across businesses and doing so during an energy crisis, and when the telco industry’s growth can leave companies spinning. Automation, as a strategy, is the top method for addressing cost management, generating revenue, and yielding ROI improvements.  

For network operations specifically, automation pertains to the management, deployment, and monitoring of network devices and services, with the likelihood of a big bump in efficiency, fewer human errors, and much less downtime. For telcos, network automation simply belongs in the toolbox for ensuring reliability and high-quality service delivery.  

The Telecom Ops Survey Report revealed additional data and findings, including the most critical business areas for telcos to automate in 2023, and key challenges in network and services automation. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog, where we’ll explore the rest of what the survey revealed.  

To learn more about how Telecom Ops is evolving in 2023, get the full report here: Telecom Ops: Driving efficiency and cost savings through network automation.  

About the author, Brent Hunter:

About the author, Brent Hunter:

Sales Engineer, Resolve Systems

Brent Hunter is a sales engineer at Resolve, based in the United Kingdom. He has cultivated a wide range of technical skills over his 20-year career deploying IT applications and largescale project implementations. Brent is a prolific contributor to Resolve's technical demonstration video library.