We are well into the second month in a brand new year and I have started to fervently check off new year’s list of things to accomplish; so far I think I’m doing a decent job. Now, what I also want to look back and review from last year is the tech-trend. Having always been amazed by how technology evolves and advances every passing day ( especially so in the wireless macrocosm), I wanted to check back on what technology promised us last year and look back on which ones actually made it to reality!
The state of tech has always looked different every year and we can’t say any differently for the wireless and telecom realm. With that, let’s take a peek into some of the top predictions from 2017 and get a hunch on what’s in store for this year - and perhaps the next.
Fast Company had predicted earlier in 2017 that the year ‘..will be huge for telecom and media mergers’, speculating that a combination of political transition, economic forces, and good timing may spark a flurry of M&As in the industry. And Mergers were quite here and there the past year. Remember Comcast, NBC Universal, Verizon, Yahoo, AOL and DoJ were all trying to stop the AT&T’s blockbuster deal to acquire Time Warner because of Time Warner’s news network CNN, causing it to hang in limbo? And the it’s fight over Time Warner has intensified even more in the recent months as the politics gets injected into the deal.
How about the two-time-failed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint? Month of October (2017) saw the deal fall apart with the Japanese telecom firm SoftBank Group Corp., which owns more than 80% of Sprint’s shares, announce that it would cease its merger efforts with T-Mobile. While it’s also speculated that the merger might have failed no matter what, the fall-off was good for the consumers. Verizon on the other hand, finally gave up on their Yahoo acquisition which was the bumpiest of all mergers recorded in recent years. Some of the M&As that actually followed through were Cisco’s acquisition of Broadsoft, Apple’s acquisition of Shazam, and Google’s acquisition of (part of) HTC.
2017 also saw quite a buzz on the Unified Communications front. Wireless industry has only ever continued to expand, and a share of that industry expansion will be seen in the UC realm as it will continue its growth in 2018 and onwards. The entire industry has their eyes set on companies like AT&T, Cisco (CSCO), Mitel (MITL), Frontier Communications (FTR), Avaya, BT, Huawei, NEC, Unify, HP (HPQ), IBM (IBM), Logitech (LOGI), Microsoft (MSFT) and many others to see through the rapid growth of Unified Communications. There are always new competitors when there’s growth and expansion. Xfinity Mobile, Charter Spectrum, Google Project Fi are among the competitors in the UC space to look out for. Not to mention that the likes of Facebook and Amazon would also soon penetrate the wireless space.
As per last year’s prediction, Net Neutrality indeed faced a grave challenge. They are no longer in the limelight in the US regulatory regime. Subsequent to the repeal of Net Neutrality, several protests have started from all angles. From companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix fighting against the repeal, to the organized rallies by the youths and people of color, to states pushing back by considering bills to restore it, the FCC’s decision has seen some force (and a flurry of lawsuits too). Check out our recent article on this topic.
On a lighter note, the smartphone sector has got farther in 2017 with the iPhone, Android and Galaxy on the lead, as well as new brands from China and other nations have also entered the US Markets.
While many predictions and plans did not transpire into reality, the industry continues to move ahead with gusto. To above and beyond.