Vision 2017: key drivers for change in the telecoms industry

Telecom Asia editors and analysts
23 Jan 2017

As we do every year, it’s time for Telecoms Asia and our analyst contributors to look into the future and forecast what 2017 might have in store for our industry.

In many ways, 2016 has accelerated many of the changes we’ve been seeing all through this decade.

Disruption and transformation may be bywords, and may be slightly overused by now, but the trends are apparent. Even though we may not yet know where we will end up eventually, we have a good idea what is taking us there.

Some of these key drivers are explored in this Vision publication, such as the Internet of Things, SDN, the ongoing push for virtualization and the transition to 5G with the 2020 time horizon.

There is also the ultimate spoiler, data security. If we don’t get this one right as an industry, trust in the digital future will be undermined to the point that all of our gains could be compromised.

While 2015 and 2016 contained the somewhat sordid sagas of the Ashley Madison and Adultfriendfinder hacks, that could pale into insignificance once millions of objects are all connected up through the IoT.

Recent events, such as the “hijacking” of a dam system in the US by hackers, show just how vulnerable we are and how important an issue this is.

Change may be accelerating, but it is still a long term play. Although we look back on the digital world of 2000 with amazement at the differences, the reality is that change is ongoing, and never a Bang.

Convergence and collaboration see to be the prevailing ethos of the times, as what we used to call telcos become technology companies or digital service providers.

The personalization of marketing, the proliferation of video, the explosion of cloud based services and the rapid digitization of payments (including crypto currencies): all of these are having an influence on service providers and increasingly on operators.

The smartphone market is in transition. Will Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 fiasco and the company’s big bet on IoT in the automotive industry mean it is less of a force in the handset market?

Will Apple run out of steam and put its investment into wearables?

As Blackberry and Motorola have shown, no phone brand is forever so perhaps there is a new world order set to emerge.

Could it be that 2017 is the year that the telco model, which has been undergoing a somewhat chaotic transformation, finally begins to mature? At least one of our columnists thinks so.


  1. 2017: The old business model is finally killed off
  2. 5G, the war on cash and big brother
  3. 2017 outlook: Implications for telcos
  4. Time for telcos to win with virtualization in 2017
  5. Mobile is the face of digital
  6. Cybersecurity planning in an evolving market
  7. Fintech to make its mark in Asia

This article was first appeared on Telecom Asia Vision 2017 Supplement

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