2022 – Capacity's year in review
With the macroeconomic picture as it is, the political landscape in flux and growing uncertainty of what the world will look like in 2023, even making predictions for the next month is an exercise in guess work.
So instead of rounding up the usual forecasts for 2023, this year the Capacity editorial team has decided to look back at the biggest trends of 2022.
May saw the team headed to International Telecoms Week (ITW) the world's largest gathering of global executives from across the telecoms and digital infrastructure ecosystem.
Amid meetings, news gathering and conference sessions, the team sat down with close executives from across the space, and they all shared their plans for the foreseeable and prevalent trends.
"The panel I had the pleasure of moderating [during ITW 2022] was all about innovation and how that impacts customer experience. Its about the role of software in the business and that starts at the network layer," said Carl Roberts, partner at Hadaara Consulting.
"Its but you interface with the customer that simple and seamless, which is easy to say but very difficult to do." I always preach the two zeros. If you can get zero touch right and zero trust right, then you're in pretty good shape."
"Next ITW I look forward to talking to you about other content we've been able to bring into the region," commented Andy Bax, COO of EdgeUno.
"Improvement on the two-way conversation between content owners and content users, and how we've helped to do that. Expansions we've done, not only to other cities in the region but some countries in the regions and further expansion into those. And with a bit of luck and focus, expansions we've done into other parts of the world."
"In the consumer segment, roaming across Asia-Pacific got completed killed [sic] during Covid. So a key objective for us in the short to near term, is to resuscitate that entire roaming proposition again," said Obaid Rahman, head of wholesale at Axiata.
"5G is also prevalent, we've already launched in two markets and the basic 5G proposition, i.e., roaming, VoLTE enablement and voice interconnects, those are things that we are looking at. And lastly moving more towards enterprise in line with the significant amount of digital transformation happening in the sector."
Kevin Vachon, COO, MEF, commented: "We want to give operators the ability to automate services across a very diverse supply chain of suppliers, whether that’s hyperscalers, service providers, vendors that are selling services from cloud and so on, automating right through to enterprises that are embarking on their own digital transformations."
"Well WIOCC has a new sister company called Open Access Data Centres (OADC), which is an open access data centre," explained Nikki Popoola, sales director, west Africa at WIOCC.
"So we're trying to create an ecosystem, we're looking at edge data centres, we want to be a one stop shop at the wholesale level. That's why our customers come to us because we don't compete at the enterprise level, we want our customers to succeed because when they succeed, we succeed."
Emmanuel Rochas, CEO, Orange International Carriers, commented: "A few years ago we launched a programme to digitise our activities, and we are currently accelerating it, in order to increase momentum towards a platform play."
"What we aim to achieve is to be able to provide our customers with a one-stop shop with a fully digitised and automated customer journey for their international connectivity needs."
Par Jansson, head of carrier sales, GlobalConnect Carrier, commented: "We're created a Global Connect Carrier 2.0, a new structure that within that, key for us is retaining the high MPS number that we had for our clients, and one way to do that is going digital."
According to Eric Cevis, president, Verizon Partner Solutions, said: "I think the biggest thing we look at between now and 2023 is how do we continue to get a growth narrative in this industry.
"Communications is one of the biggest things we can take advantage of in this particular space, so what are we going to do with 5G? What are the uses cases, be they manufacturing, healthcare, sports or retail? Any type of vertical market you can think of, we believe that 5G is going to be that big super highway that allows us to push these more bandwidth intensive services and products," he continues.
Across our issues of magazine, the team also received some amazing insights from some of our Big Interviews on the state of the industry and forward-looking plans.
At the top of the year, Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne, ahead of the company's acquisition by Equinix, said that “we will continue to run as MainOne under the Equinix umbrella. And we will continue to grow and try to accelerate that business in West Africa with the same management team we have today.”
Eric van Vliet, head of telecom market development for EMEA at Dell Technologies, shared that priorities for the year ahead includes supporting telcos in their Open RAN journeys, meeting their needs for speedy deployments, and hosting solutions to help services providers to “get to that next level.”
Datamena's Abou Mustafa told Capacity that the company's next stage in development is to take all the exchanges and hubs that operate in isolation and interconnect them “in a mature and open way”.
“I believe the opportunities for digital innovation are limitless,” he says. “The next wave of digital transformation, luckily, will not end.”
Bob Brumley, CEO, Laser Light Communications, said in April that “The next big event will be getting the ground network running real traffic,” he says, which will see real revenue flowing into Laser Light, 10 years after he first set it up.
Elisabetta Romano, the newly elected chair of the ITW Global Leaders, said its time to walk the walk when it comes into digital transformation, commenting that “now’s the time to finally make this happen”.
On the heels of the news that Digicel Pacific is to be acquired by Telstra Corporation for approximately US$1.6 billion, Shally Jannif, says people will remain at the heart of any all changes.
“The final piece of the puzzle is my staff, making sure that we continue to empower them to do the best job for the company,” says Jannif.
“It really is important, making sure you put the right people in the right roles and supporting them in any way we can,” she said.
Judit Albers of A1 Telekom Austria, The GLF and A1 are also cooperating with other forums on the voice side of the industry, including i3forum, the Mobile Ecosystem Forum and the GSMA, on the principle that exchanging information is a most important part of fighting fraud.
Most recently, Andrew Shields, Head of Quantum Technology Division, says that Toshiba sees its role as being a service provider, supplying QKD keys to the industry.
“Eventually, this technology might be applied to everything,” he says. “In the nearer term, there’ll be applications that are high value and where users rely on long-term security.”
As we wait to see what 2023 holds, innovation across the wholesale telecoms and ICT space, continues at pace. Whether it's at the infrastructure, network or service/application level, it is the customers journey that remains central to all these activities.