Is Telecoms ‘evolution’ really driven to solve real customer needs?

I report here below an interesting POV which should help to keep the eyes open on the real ways how infra vendors and telco giants are implementing the “xG” revolutions:

Telecoms ‘evolution’ is driven by technology for technology’s sake, not to solve real customer needs.

Note: This is my gut feeling after 20+ years in telecoms, and not backed up with statistical data. Neither is it the opinion of my employer.

Some might find this a bold statement, others possibly not.

The transition from analogue to GSM, or 2G, was a significant milestone delivering better coverage, better voice quality and the promise of a data connection. Technology was significantly better, and significant additional value was delivered to customers.

2G to 3G again represented a step change in capabilities, delivering improved coverage, improved voice quality, and big jump in data capabilities. Mobile web, email and (basic) video became real.

4G is where things started to level out. Yes, data became better, and voice codecs improved, however I would argue this was not such a significant jump as 2G to 3G.

5G has not yet delivered on its revenue promises. Every operator I talk to in Europe, Americas and Asia has the same question: “How do I make a return on 5G?”

5G was developed to deliver promising use cases, these have not yet fully matured. There was also in parts of the industry the assumption the pattern seen with previous generational jumps would repeat. Technically it is better than 4G by most technical measures (Bandwidth, Throughput, Latency, etc.).

For consumers, 4G is still enough. Consumers are not experiencing a significantly improved service through 5G technology. Some business use cases are appearing, but not at the volume or adoption rates expected. (Many can be achieved with other technologies at a lower cost, and almost the same technical characteristics).

And all the time the investment required continues to grow. The ROI for each generational jump gets worse…

Here is the lesson: Don’t let technology drive your strategy.

The next telecoms evolution MUST be driven by real consumer and business problems that have no or poor solutions. Drop the concept of “xG” and start fixing real problems and selling solutions to problems, not technologies.

Pete Wallace – Business Transformation & Development, Focus on Service Products, Software & Training