Recently there was an important development for the broadband sector when the market share of fibre infrastructure lines finally overtook DSL technologies as the largest on a global level.
The fixed broadband network is the infrastructure needed to meet the needs, both economic and societal, of the developed markets. In fact in many of these markets, wireless broadband and FttP are developing in a complementary and harmonious way.
Currently 4G networks offer excellent broadband services and, as long as the usage is limited, the prices are competitive. However, as soon as the mobile networks become used for entertainment services such as Netflix, the affordability drops significantly. Looking ahead, more and more of these entertainment services will be delivered over broadband and more and more people will move from traditional TV to these broadband-based services. At the same time, the quality is moving from HDTV to 4K and it remains unlikely that these services can be supported by wireless networks at affordable prices.
However, if fixed networks operators are not providing FttP infrastructure, and are thus not going to be able to deliver the broadband quality that people demand, the wireless industry will look for new opportunities and will push the boundaries further and further.
The 5G technology is now well and truly under development. While there are no firm standards in place, the industry is working hard at making that happen. In the meantime, the early movers are testing their own versions of the 5G technology and this is giving us information about what we can expect – what the technology will be able to deliver. Commercial 5G is not expected to become available in any significant way until around 2020, with full deployment expected towards the end of that decade.
Developments, strongly facilitated by developments in the ICT industry, are leading to massive economic transformation processes. We see that whole industry sectors and traditional business models have been replaced by new ones. The key reason for these transformations is that in some instances up to 80% of the costs of those traditional business models can be removed.
These processes are relentless and are going to force other sectors to transform as well. Developments linked to cloud computing, data centres, data analytics (big data), machine-to-machine (M2M), the internet-of-things (IoT) and the emerging Blockchain may all play a part in transforming our current world. Ultimately from these developments we are beginning to slowly see the emergence of Smart Cities, and indeed Smart Nations.
Looking at the big picture indicates there many more innovations to emerge in the years ahead. For the operators however, the bottom line is converting these technological developments into revenue generating services and applications. The operators need paying subscribers and consumers who will adopt the services and applications on offer. To this end, video streaming is a great example of the huge impact new technologies can make. Fixed and mobile bandwidth is increasingly under strain from the enormous appetite consumers have demonstrated for video streaming – and it is the content and service providers alike which are reaping the benefits.
For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Global Telecoms Trends for 2017 – Fibre Networks, LTE, 5G, Video Streaming, Smart Nations