According to the latest Ericsson Mobility report, mobile subscriptions grew 10% in the last quarter of 2019 alone to reach nearly 8 billion total. With more than enough mobile devices for each person in the world to own at least one, we expect that to increase as we move into a new decade. The global wireless subscription penetration breakdown can be seen in Figure 1, and subscriptions associated with smartphones account for more than 70 percent of all global mobile phone subscriptions.
Consumers are now purchasing more devices, linking them together and expecting faster connections, which means more connective and extensive technology will be needed to meet the growing demand. Luckily for consumers and businesses alike, that technology is on its way.
Here are four prominent trends that will transform the wireless industry this year and, quite possibly, the rest of the decade.
The Expansion of 5G
5G or the fifth-generation wireless network, will dramatically improve upon 4G wireless connections, making it easier than ever for people to connect. The speeds and bandwidth of 5G will affect industries across the globe, as well as the daily life of consumers, with faster download speeds, higher network reliability, improved data rates and more. Many industry experts believe that 5G networks, alongside existing 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, will be 10 to 20 times faster than standalone 4G when fully deployed. 5G will also expand consumers’ usage of connected devices and the IoT, which came into fruition this past decade.
5G will also provide an added benefit to telecom companies, as 5G signal towers are significantly smaller than 4G towers and can handle 100 more unique devices. This, in turn, saves space and money for businesses, while providing better services for their consumers.
Over the last decade, the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices such as Fitbit watches, smart home devices - like the Amazon Alexa or Google Home - and even smart appliances has made it incredibly easy for consumers to connect their devices with the simplest of behaviors to make life that much easier. This will not stop in the 2020s, as the total number of connected devices is expected to grow to 75 billion by the end of 2025. In comparison, the total number of connected devices expected by the end of 2020 is 30.73 billion.
More wearables, voice activation and life automation products will enter the market this decade to help optimize the lives of consumers even more so. The emergence of 5G will also drive this trend due to the existence of larger, singular networks on which these devices will all be connected.
Data and network security are already paramount for all consumers and businesses, but with the growth of wireless technology and the increase of IoT devices, the same amount of growth will be needed in network security this decade. Many large corporations had their systems breached in 2019, which totaled to 7.9 billion consumer records exposed to hackers. This makes security one of the top priorities for companies as they expand into 5G technology where even more devices will be connected on a single network than ever before.
One of the main players in the quest for efficient mobile security will be the addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The rise in demand for data security means that the telecom industry will rely increasingly more on A.I. in terms of keeping data records safe, while also scanning to prevent any system hackings.
The Customer Experience
The new wave of technology will add additional pressure on companies to adapt to the changing business landscape in terms of customer experience. Consumers will have many of their wants and desires answered this decade from 5G and new connected devices, but their expectations will evolve from this as well. This means companies will be competing to get ahead of the new technology to provide quality customer service to their consumers.
As mentioned above, A.I. will have a major impact on data and network security but will also play a prominent role in customer experience with programs like chatbots to handle the questions and needs consumers have. Bots have become a staple in customer experience and their widespread use will only increase this decade. Even though 63% of customers said they were satisfied in dealing with a chatbot, they also desire hyper-personalized experiences, so it will be up to the companies to understand and utilize this technology properly to provide the best experience possible for their consumers.
What’s intriguing about the state of technology and the wireless industry as we enter 2020 is how many of the trends we will see over the course of the decade, including the four listed above, will coincide with each other in one way or another. The expansion of 5G networks, for example, will provide more updated and improved aspects to our connected devices, data security, and customer experience to take our technological world to a whole new level. This improvement of our networks will then have devices positively affect security and customer experience, security affect the devices and experience, and so on and so forth.
There are major changes happening to the wireless industry that will alter our world over the next ten years and it’s exciting to think about all of the possibilities that come with that.
About Scott Moorehead
Scott Moorehead is CEO of Round Room LLC, which leads and invests in companies serving the wireless industry. With 1,251 TCC and Wireless Zone across 40 states, Round Room is the largest Verizon Authorized Retailer in the U.S. Its portfolio of companies shares a deep commitment to improving the communities they serve nationwide.
Scott is nationally recognized for creating workplace cultures that encourage people to make an impact on their communities. This year, he was acknowledged as a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Scott Moorehead is the CEO of Round Room, LLC, which owns and operates Redux, a technology that saves water-damaged phones; Culture of Good, Inc., a business that guides other companies on how to create a meaningful corporate culture; and Verizon Wireless retailers TCC and Wireless Zone. In addition to growing Round Room into the largest Verizon Authorized Retailer in the nation, Scott is nationally recognized for creating workplace cultures that encourage people to make an impact on their communities. This year, Scott was acknowledged in the American Business Awards, EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and as a Dealerscope CE Leader Who Rocks.