Where 5G goes, data analytics and AI must follow

The growing use of smartphones and other connected devices has resulted in a surge in the volume of data moving through the networks of telecom operators. With this surge and as 5G deployments increase, telecom operators’ accessibility to data will further grow, enabling them to monetize it by delivering value-added services and supporting new use cases.

However, it’s apparent the telecom industry can no longer rely on traditional approaches and methodologies to handle massive amounts of data. As a result, they are turning to next-gen technologies such as analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to handle and manage the data.

The global telecom analytics market was valued at $4.1 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to reach $22.5 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 32.7% over the forecast period 2021–2026. The US is one of the largest markets for telecom analytics and is home to some of the major telecom analytics players, making it one of the lucrative innovation hubs in the market.

Analytics and AI – Two-pronged strategy for telecom operators

Operators are leveraging analytics and AI both in internal and external operations, making it a two-pronged strategy. Leading telecom players in the US have already started adopting data analytics and AI for improving the customer experience, reducing costs, generating new revenue, and achieving the scale and security demanded by 5G and IoT. They are also integrating these technologies into their enterprise solutions to broaden their offerings – such as analytics/AI consulting, advisory, and system integration services – to further differentiate.

Some analytics and AI use cases include:

  • Optimize network — The increasing networking complexity drives the need for automated network modeling. AI monitors network status, forecasts network supply failures, and optimizes maintenance routes. For instance, AT&T uses AI to predict the impact of future climate change on its physical assets and network.
  • Improve sales and marketing — The need to provide personalized services has led to a surge in the use of AI in sales and marketing. Analytics and AI platforms help provide customized services by analyzing customers’ telecom services usage, social media sentiment, and buying patterns. T-Mobile, for example, was able to increase customer acquisitions by 400% using AI-powered personalized videos in email marketing.
  • Improve customer experience — Conversational chatbots powered by AI can handle customer requests and employ machine learning (ML) to improve support services. AT&T’s cybersecurity team uses ML algorithms to identify call patterns that can indicate spoofed caller IDs and robo-callers. AT&T has blocked or labeled six billion robocalls in 2020.
  • Streamline support functions — Analytics and AI automate repetitive tasks across support functions like HR, procurement, finance, and more while enabling employees to focus on value-added tasks
  • Optimize infrastructure investments — With the help of data analytics, telecom companies may identify locations with limited or no internet or mobile access and take steps to increase coverage
  • Sustainability — 5G requires more energy-intensive telecom equipment and bandwidth capacity, as well as massive volumes of data stored in an ever-increasing number of energy-intensive data centers. AI energy management solutions can be used to reduce the environmental footprint as they can be used quickly and effectively across an entire network with little to no human intervention. Many operators are still in the early planning and testing stages of getting their AI efforts off the ground with respect to energy efficiency and can benefit from Softtek’s blauLabs platform, blauLabs for Data Center Operations Monitoring, and the work we are doing for one of the largest telecommunications companies in North America.

The telecom industry is evolving, and data analytics and AI are at the forefront of that transformation 

It is undeniable that data analytics and AI play a critical role in the telecom business and provide numerous prospects. It will aid industry participants in reorganizing their business practices in the most efficient and profitable way feasible while focusing on customer satisfaction.

The traditional B2B service provided by telecom companies is voice connectivity. Revenue is shrinking due to alternatives such as internet-based apps (including WhatsApp) that provide calling and texting features. A holistic approach is necessary to extract values from rapidly growing data, monetize opportunities arising from AI and analytics, and offer end-to-end products and services.

The telecom market is prepared to encounter unparalleled dynamism in terms of new technology, consumer expectations, and macroeconomic conditions. Endurance in a fast-paced environment can only be achieved if businesses comprehend the data's language. Many research studies have also shown that the potential for telecom organizations to profit from data analytics and AI is generous, implying telecom firms can stay ahead of the competition by implementing cutting-edge technologies.

 

See how Softtek helps telecom operators close the digital gap to deliver state-of-the-art connectivity services (2-minutes):