Telecoms in 2019, we take a look back

For at least the last five years many of us have been reading or writing blogs titled something like ‘2020 vision’ – packed with ideas about what the roaring twenties mark two might deliver. And while I’m usually the last to suggest we go back over old predictions, this does feel like a good moment to take stock and think about  what influenced our world this year.

A look back at 2019

Fast forward on full fibre

One of the biggest movements in networks and connectivity this year has been the government’s decision to bring forward its UK-wide full fibre pledge to 2025, from 2033. Along with the promise of providing £5 billion in funding to help make it happen.

Naturally, we are fully supportive. Although, it’s important to note that a lot needs to be done to hit the new pledge date – collaboration and investment between MNOs, infrastructure providers and the government will be key to delivery.

5G switched on

While we’re not fully there yet in terms of our much vaunted 5G future, some big strides were taken in 2019. Prominent initiatives are underway, and some nascent, but ambitious, projects excited the public and businesses alike about how it might change their daily lives.

Take the Glastonbury Festival trial, which became the biggest temporary 5G installation to date, connecting muddied revellers like never before (although I doubt it stopped them losing their phones). Or the SSE Enterprise Telecoms and Three UK trial in London’s West End, giving the retail industry a taste of how better connectivity might boost customer experience.

There’s obviously a lot more to do (and again, more collaboration is needed to make it happen) before 5G is fully rolled out, but for now it’s certainly worth raising a Yuletide glass to some successful trials.

Industry transformation

We’re often party to talk about the fourth industrial revolution, and how digital transformation should be the priority for every business out there.

This trend continued in 2019, with IT and technology leaders exploring how they can solve their challenges through innovation, often without breaking the bank. One of the key themes we saw was the need for secure, high-capacity connectivity services to support fast-paced, data-hungry businesses. For example, as manufacturing grows more sophisticated, it’s vital to have connected sites, easy access to critical information and seamless operations so that firms can differentiate their services in a challenging and technologically driven market.

We’ve made significant progress in supporting the connectivity digital transformation demands, with virtual unbundling helping more businesses get the fast fibre they need to succeed. However, much of what businesses ask for rests on continued infrastructure development in telecoms.

But enough of the retrospective, let’s take a look at how we see telecoms developing next year in our next blog “New decade, new vision? The telecoms sector in 2020”.

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