The Telecom Industry – Trends to Watch For in 2021

January 4, 2021

Telecommunications was one of the few industries that saw record growth in 2020. Now that 2021 is just around the corner, it looks as if it is in for another year of impressive performance. Along with solid support from an increasingly mobile workforce, there are several emerging technologies that should make 2021 another successful year!

The Year of 5G

5G technology has been on the horizon for some time, however, 2021 may very well be the year when 5G emerges as a true main street technology. T-Mobile together with Sprint announced they would be offering nationwide 5G coverage by the end of 2021. Succeeding in their goal should put these newly merged companies firmly ahead of their competitors, at least in the immediate future. Competition is always present, however, Verizon stated in October 2020, they expect to see their 5G revenues emerging sometime in 2021.

For now, AT&T seems to be in third place with regard to main street nationwide 5G coverage, with a current offering of a 5G+ service using millimeter wave spectrum in 30 major cities across the country, along with their low-band 5G network which is usable in nearly 400 locations.

5G technology will continue to be a major influencer both in terms of bringing more 5G-capable devices to the market, as well as being a major focus of telecom industry players due to its game-changing capabilities of:

  • Lightning-fast data speeds
  • Enhanced video resolutions
  • Connecting to multiple types of devices

Edge Computing

At least partly facilitated by 5G, edge computing will become more prevalent throughout 2021. Bringing information processing and data storage closer to where it is actually used, should translate into a decrease in latency issues and improve application performance. Bringing more power to the edge of technology should also improve the abilities of other emerging technologies, including AI and the IoT.

The IoT

Thanks in part to 5G, edge performance, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the IoT became a strong player in 2020 and will likely only become stronger in the upcoming year. 2020 saw the emergence of pop-up parking lot healthcare hubs, curbside ordering of food, and other products, and touchless delivery at restaurants and other retail stores.

2021 will likely see the continuance of these types of services due to their convenience, along with the remaining vestiges of the pandemic. In 2021, healthcare, remote asset monitoring, and smart offices will be some of the industries increasingly looking for IoT solutions.

Artificial Intelligence

In 2020, the front end of communication saw solid growth in the area of customer service, through the use of AI automated services such as virtual assistants and chatbots. Thanks to AI, the back end of the telecom industry is also starting to see improvements in the following areas:

  • Self-optimizing networks
  • Fraud detection
  • Predictive analytics

Self-optimizing networks can help prevent outages, which translates into increased customer satisfaction. AI is also providing integral support of cybersecurity efforts (fraud detection) by making use of advanced algorithms that can detect and predict network anomalies.

Telecoms also must manage massive amounts of data. AI is helping telecom companies sift through the data they collect in order to help companies make more effective and efficient decisions, especially in terms of improving customer service. By gaining more insight into their customer base, telecoms can offer more intuitive recommendations to their customers.


2021 promises to offer a strong future for anyone interested in the telecom industry. Between advances in AI, edge computing, and the IoT, along with the implementation of 5G throughout the country, the field seems to be wide open.

If you are looking for an exciting career in the telecom industry, please check out our open jobs board here. If you would like to know more about any of the emerging trends in 2021, please contact us today.

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