In responding to end-users' increasingly complex and highly personalised communications needs, the telecoms market is undergoing a profound change, one that is more service-orientated than before. Older mass-market delivery systems, that are unable to cope with elevated levels of data traffic, will need to be replaced or at least augmented so that they can provide 'good enough' quality of service. There will be good opportunities for vendors of next-generation network equipment, in both developed and emerging markets. At the same time, enterprises will tire of waiting for public networks to catch up with their needs, and we anticipate new service delivery paradigms to emerge, driven by technologies, such as low-power wide area networking and small cells.
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'Service Anywhere' connectivity will be the telecoms industry's principal goal for the next five years. Mobile technologies will be the great facilitators for the spread of such services and we anticipate 3G/4G subscriptions growing from 3.922bn in 2016 to 5.597bn by 2021. We do not expect 5G technologies to be commercially available until 2019 at the very earliest, so there will be continued investment in supplementary technologies, such as vectoring, G.fast, fibre, DOCSIS 3.0/3.1, small cells and low power wide area wireless.