The year of 2016 is set to be an interesting one for the telecoms sector. From telecom networks beefing up their 4G coverage, making plans for when 5G becomes a standard, to cloud computing and even VoLTE. The regulatory environment also bears some watching. [caption id="attachment_1857" align="aligncenter" width="604"] Alcatel-Lucent 9500 Microwave Packet Radio
Photo Credit: www.Alcatel-Lucent.com[/caption]
Expect to see net neutrality laws clarified in 2016.
Net neutrality was quite a hot button issue in 2015. Net neutrality means treating all data on the Internet the same, and not prioritizing any type of traffic. Earlier in the year the FCC classified broadband access as a telecommunications service, and applied Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 to it. These rules then took effect in July of 2015.
However, there are often instances where carriers seem to be violating the legislation. A recent case is where YouTube accused T-Mobile of lowering the quality and speed of videos being streamed. The FCC has written to T-Mobile expressing their concerns that providers are being excluded, and expect an answer by January 15 2016..
4G and 5G in 2016
In terms of internet speed, 2016 will bring even high internet speed to meet the growing consumer demand for increased bandwidth across all platforms.
It is interesting that although there has been quite a bit of discussion about 5G, no 5G standards have even been set yet. Verizon Wireless has started to push 5G, partnering with Siemens, Nokia, Cisco, Qualcomm and Samsung, but AT&T and T-Mobile say they are holding off on any plans until standards have been set. The Next Generation Wireless Networks Alliance have said that 5G will only start being implemented in 2020, but that won’t be stopping networks from trialling and beefing up their networks in anticipation, as we saw with 4G.
To improve 4G – using a technology also referred to as LTE-A – mobile networks have started using carrier aggregation, where they combine multiple bands of spectrum. This essentially increases the amount of lanes available on the data highway used. In real terms, carriers have said that users could see up to 20% improvements in performance.
Carriers will also be using a technology called LTE-U (the “U” standing for “unlicensed”), where unlicensed spectrum, such as the 5GHz range used by WiFi enabled devices, is used to boost coverage over short distances.
All this means that in 2016, we will be seeing even higher speeds, and as consumers demand more bandwidth, we will be seeing the push towards 5G standards and better 4G networks.
In 2015, we saw a huge increase in Voice over LTE, or VoLTE and trends suggest 2016 should follow a similar path.
According to BusinessWire, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in subscriber base for VoLTE in 2014-2019 is set to be 100.64%, and commercial network deployment to be 36.03%. This represents a huge opportunity for growth.
VoLTE means better bandwidth utilisation on the spectrum, higher quality voice calls and much better call reliability.
As customers start seeing the benefits to VoLTE, more handsets that are compatible with the standard will be released to fill this need, and networks will therefore also deploy the infrastructure necessary to support it.
Cloud usage will continue to increase and expand in 2016.
At this point, nearly everyone has heard of cloud computing, and for good reason. Cloud computing now represents a huge chunk of revenue for companies such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon. As businesses, from small-medium size companies to huge corporations, continue replacing old hardware and aging infrastructure, the benefits of using cloud computing is even more obvious. The days of clunky data backup are numbered as small to medium-sized businesses convert to the cloud.
April 2016 will see end-of-life support for SQL 2005, and millions of businesses will move their databases to services such as Azure SQL. This represents an opportunity to not only migrate these databases to the cloud, but on-sell other solutions, like hosted Exchange and hosted PBX.
Get ready for 2016
These are just some of the what we have to look forward to in 2016.