2019 was an exciting year for the telecommunications market: consumer trend changers dictated market growth, while the US-Chinese struggle changed everything – from general device use to national security concerns, Petras Masiulis, Tele2 CEO for the Baltic States and Germany wrote.
To cover everything: what events were the most significant for the telecommunications market in 2019, and what can we expect from 2020?
Service of the year: mobile internet
Market growth continued in 2019. It was uplifted most by mobile internet.
Just 4-5 years ago, mobile internet was seen as an extra, but not a mandatory and relatively expensive luxury. Thus, talks about mobile internet for the home seemed more something from science fiction and not an everyday business. This has changed and now “Free Internet” is selected by many a Tele2 client.
This is accompanied by annually record-breaking mobile data use. Already today it is clear that 2019 will be no exception and will continue raising the bar.
The transformation of smart device users is also contributing – the desire to be within reach in more remote areas, abroad and at home.
The demand for mobile data has also had an impact on growth in device sales. Consumers chose not only better smartphones, but also other devices for the office and home: modems, tablets, computers and others.
Duel of the year: D. Trump vs Huawei
The fate of the Huawei brand has been particularly followed this year by not only cellular operators around the world but also politicians, NATO and European Union security chiefs, government leaders and others.
US President Donald Trump has become Huawei’s fiercest opponent. However, in Europe, his position has been received with more reserve: efforts to convince the leadership of other countries to prohibit the use of Huawei equipment when constructing infrastructure for next-generation cellular network infrastructure is being received with caution in Brussels.
It is natural that with the USA continuing a blockade of Huawei, the company has diverted its resources and strength toward Europe. The New York Times reported on December 27 that the tech giant’s efforts, such as the Huawei Cyber Security Transparency Centre in Brussels, has left an impression on the European Parliament Masliulis of Tele2 noted.
How this struggle will end is currently unclear. Nevertheless, we are watching it closely in Lithuania and other countries.
Evaluation of the year: cheaper services
Several days ago, economist Nerijus Mačiulis compared the years 2009 and 2019 and observed that telecommunications services have become less expensive over the decade, unlike most other services. When comparing the services today and a decade ago, they became some 20% cheaper.
This is clear evidence of how fierce competition and diligent work for the sake of clients can not just lead to excellent service quality, but also make it more affordable.
What awaits in 2020? The era of 5G begins
The era of 5G will start next year with the Communications Regulatory Authority (RRT) launching an auction for radio frequencies, which will be used for the new generation connection. Of course, some time will have to pass for the new generation service to become widely accessible.
It is predicted that namely next year, the first applications created to work based on this technology will emerge.
Developed fifth-generation connectivity will launch a new technological era, accelerate the development of the internet of things and will ease our everyday lives.
Internet of things transforms business
Together with the broad adoption of 5G at home, new opportunities for business will also emerge. The new generation connectivity will allow the development of the narrowband internet of things. That said, this will be more of an evolution, not a revolution because the internet of things already exists, just that its capabilities are to rise to a new level soon, P. Masiulis of Tele2 said.
The narrowband internet of things technology garners the most attention due to its range within buildings, its low price, long battery life and capacity to ensure large connectivity density. Thus, there are plans for it to most influence businesses, which have to gather continuously, process and systemise data. The narrowband internet of things will not only make work easier and faster but also more affordable.
Automation as a driver of economic growth
Automation is typically associated with the industry; however, it has already begun to transform many other areas significantly. With economic growth, but little change in the workforce, robots will also fill these vacant spaces.
According to Forbes data, in 2020, over a million jobs around the world that demand knowledge and practice will be automated. You need not look far because these trends are also reflected in Lithuania.
Trends of immigration and the beginning of service centre withdrawal from Lithuania to more affordable countries shows that we are becoming a country of ever more expensive labour. Furthermore, a large part of Lithuanians is no longer willing to work technical jobs and are more eagerly looking to specialist positions. Thus, automation could become a practical solution and robots will have a significant impact on businesses, society and the state economy.
It is predicted that automation will impact areas, which are dominated by repeating, technical actions. Artificial intelligence solutions have already successfully allowed automating such processes as billing, pricing, data flow management and such. These trends have already begun and will continue to accelerate in the new year.
2020 will definitely be interesting. Best of luck to everyone in it!
Petras Masiulis, Tele2 CEO for the Baltic States and Germany