Survey: 69% network operators report growth

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Respondents to the Broadband World Forum Survey are optimistic despite an industry undergoing rapid change. Some 69 per cent reported positive growth with 19 per cent reporting business had “rocketed” over the past 12 months.

While market competition has propelled investment in gigabit broadband, trials leading to roll out of 5G services, fixed mobile convergence and expansion of connected devices have all contributed to the growth of the industry and digitisation of the consumer.

The report examines data from 950 respondents, representing 491 companies from 95 countries. Network operators, consisting of fixed, converged, mobile, cable and satellite, made up 51 per cent of the data analysed, with the remaining made up of vendors (23 per cent), Broadcasters (7 per cent) and other (19 per cent) to find out business priorities, investment goals and industry pain points.

While government agencies cite their key focus as bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas and delivering the 2020-2025 EU Gigabit vision, data gathered from standards bodies reveals the lack of an open regulatory environment in all areas of the EU is a cause of concern as investments are earmarked to promote the development of 5G.

Global network operator comparisons

  • Globally, operators are focused on Next-Generation networks (24 per cent of respondents) and Access Technology (18 per cent)
  • In Europe, more respondents are focused on Access Technology (30 per cent) than global average, reflecting the need to overhaul or get more out of legacy networks
  • A third of Africa registrants show an interest in Next-Generation networks (30 per cent)
  • Belgium has a strong propensity towards IoT (23 per cent vs 2 per cent globally)
  • Portugal likes the Smart Home (12 per cent vs 3 per cent globally)
  • Data analytics and Network Virtualisation weight higher in the UK than average,
  • Nearly a third of Spanish respondents have Network Virtualisation as a key focus
  • Germany is dominated by Access Technology (25 per cent vs 18 per cent globally) and Next-Generation networks (36 per cent vs 24 per cent globally)

Network operator data

Fixed network operators

  • The future for fixed is fibre and its complementary technologies: FTTH will be the greatest investment for the next five years followed by NG-PON and G.Fast
  • Fixed network operators also ranked customer satisfaction as the most important focus for their business, followed by ROI on FTTX or technology investment

Converged network operators

  • Customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty is the top priority for business followed by achieving the perfect technology mix to maximise reach and quality of service
  • FTTH will be the biggest investment over the next five years, followed by 5G and G.Fast

Mobile operators

  • Making the business case for 5G is ranked most important for mobile operators
  • Making the network faster is the key investment focus for the next five years: G.Fast far outweighs other technologies followed by NG-PON and FTTH

Cable operators

  • Most cable operators noted an improvement in outcomes over the past year but are heavily concentrated on upgrading legacy infrastructure as they look to evolve to a converged multi-offering operator

Broadband World Forum Digital Content Lead Niall Hunt said: “The combination of survey and audience data paints a great picture of the broadband market. Despite the apparent disruption, the market is robust. In an environment where high investment in networks, as we push towards the gigabit society and 5G, as well as the increasingly fickle nature of customers, operators across the globe are painting a rosy picture.”


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