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To meet consumer demands and stay on top of the situation, telcos are realigning their business strategies. Many had to quickly embark on journeys to become digital service providers. This, of course, implies a number of challenges in terms of operations, architecture, networks and customer service as well.  In order to offer a better service, you need to be in touch with reality. Coming up with a strategy to improve the experience is pretty hard, not to mention ineffective, if you're not really aware of your current situation.

Satisfaction surveys make that space for dialogue with your customers so they can rate the experience and share their thoughts about the service they received.With that information, you can start measuring and analyzing possible ways to provide better service.Let’s take a look at the kind of challenges that companies in the telecommunication industry are facing and learn how to overcome them

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Most telecom service providers receive millions of customer requests every day, now more than ever. With the ever-growing number of requests, the inability to go to physical stores, and many employees working from home, delivering quick and empathetic assistance becomes a problem.

During these times of crisis, immediacy, personalization, and omnichannel communication are more important than ever. Ignoring these needs can lead to long waiting times, annoying to-and-fro conversations with multiple executives to get the issue resolved, and unsatisfactory automated responses.

All of these can ruin a customer’s relation with your company. And an agitated customer is definitely not something you would want. Being empathetic and providing instant solutions is essential to maintaining a long-term relationship with your customers.

With millions of subscribers and a variety of products and customized solutions, operational tasks have become increasingly complex, since face-to-face assistance is not an option. Even simple tasks such as service configuration, invoicing, order fulfillment, and payments are now challenging.You find out your customers have negatively rated the service experience. What do you do?

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Telecommunication providers need to upgrade their IT and connectivity infrastructure and focus on providing data and voice services that are high quality, reliable, and affordable. Security of the networks has become a major priority for the telcos and they are facing challenges with the emergence of new threats that are powered by new technologies. So, a number of operational and technical innovations are needed to meet customer expectations of complete system security from network till the device level.

One more challenge waiting in the wings for telcos and ISPs is the impact of Internet of Things (IoT) that is leading to explosive growth in the connected devices. This growth is generating billions and trillions of new data sources and thus, it is expected that this growth will push the data to be handled by networks to zettabytes per year.

5G Networks – The telecom carriers are working on providing the 5G networks to spark an enormous wave of faster internet. While the technology has not yet been fully defined, carriers are proceeding with the lab and field trials in their race to stay competitive.

The full, mass-market 5G coverage is expected by approximately 2020.

Secure and reliable services – Modern telecom environment offers a rich set of services that need reliable and secure authentication. The number of smartphones equipped with biometric fingerprint readers is increasing. This technology is also being used by retailers, financial institutions, government, and even schools, to verify identities.

Other biometric mechanisms like facial or retinal recognition, are also telecom trends and are likely to pick up steam in the coming years. An increasingly large number of telecom companies are adopting biometric SIM cards for curbing crimes related to mobile phones and terrorist attacks as well.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to smartphones will bring the next shift in technology, according to Huawei,

AI allows smartphones to perform highly sophisticated functions such as augmented reality (remember Pokémon Go), speech recognition, indoor navigation, and even learning the daily tasks and preferences of an individual to enable digital assistants like Siri and Alexa.

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The core findings of this study—which are supported throughout this report—are that the telecommunications industry remains of crucial importance to the United States as a society, that a strong telecommunications research capability continues to be essential to the health and competitiveness of this U.S. industry internationally, and that the health of this industry strongly affects the U.S. economy in many ways.

Perhaps the most fundamental change, both in terms of technology and its implications for industry structure, has occurred in the architecture of telecommunications networks. Architecture in this context refers to the functional description of the general structure of the system as a whole and how the different parts of the system relate to each other. Previously the PSTN, cable, and data networks coexisted as separately owned and operated networks carrying different types of communications, although they often shared a common technology base (such as point-to-point digital communications) and some facilities (e.g., high-speed digital pipes shared by different networks).

How are the new networks different? First, they are integrated, meaning that all media— be they voice, audio, video, or data—are increasingly communicated over a single common network. This integration offers economies of scope and scale in both capital expenditures and operational costs, and also allows different media to be mixed within common applications. As a result, both technology suppliers and service providers are increasingly in the business of providing telecommunications in all media simultaneously rather than specializing in a particular type such as voice, video, or data.

Second, the networks are built in layers, from the physical layer, which is concerned with the mechanical, electrical and optical, and functional and procedural means for managing network connections to the data, network, and transport layers, which are concerned with transferring data, routing data across networks between addresses, and ensuring end-to-end

An implication of defining telecommunications broadly is that every layer involved in communication at a distance becomes, at least partially, part of the telecommunications industry. The broad range and large number of companies that contribute to the telecommunications industry are evident in the following list of examples:

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Cisco SecureX is a cloud-native platform that delivers a unified view of customers' environments, so they no longer must jump between multiple dashboards, manage conflicting alerts or policies."With Kenna Security as part of SecureX, we will bridge our leading threat management capabilities with its risk-based vulnerability management to dramatically enhance our platform approach for customers," Rittenhouse added.The acquisition is expected to close in Cisco's fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021.

The evolution of Indian telecom industry has enabled access to higher average internet speeds at 9 MB per second on 4G networks from 1.5 MB per second in 2013. 412 million Subscribers have access to broadband connectivity (> 512kbps download). Easy availability of high speed internet has not only increased time spent on online content consumption, but also made global content available to Indian users.With telecom consumption shifting from voice in favour of data, telecom operators are gearing up to deliver the growing requirements of consumers through the new mantra of the digital economy – ‘Content’. Be it sports, news, music, or films, telecom players are fast integrating themselves to be a part of the burgeoning Indian media industry.

India reached a wireless telecom subscriber base of 1.18 billion in March 2018. The mobile phone has now become the primary mode of social networking, news and entertainment. With India being the second largest market for smartphones globally and with the increasing adoption of 3G and 4G, India is estimated to have 500 million internet users by June 2018 constituting to around 37% of the total population. India is still at a nascent stage of telecom penetration when compared to mature markets such as Japan, UK, South Korea and Netherlands where internet penetration stands at >90%. Further the average usage of content in India on mobile apps is around 200 minutes a day as shown in the buckets in the pie chart below. This consumption duration is still lower than consumption in various countries thus indicating that the Indian landscape has a significant opportunity ahead.

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second requirement is for all licensed spectrum to be paid for as a share of revenues based on usage as for licence fees, in lieu of auction payments. Legislation to this effect can ensure that spectrum for communications is either paid through revenue sharing for actual use, or is open access for all Wi-Fi bands. The restricted middle-mile use mentioned above can be charged at minimal administrative costs for management through geo-location databases to avoid interference. In the past, revenue-sharing has earned much more than up-front fees in India, and rejuvenated communications.2 There are two additional reasons for revenue sharing. One is the need to manufacture a significant proportion of equipment with Indian IPR or value-added, to not have to rely as much as we do on imports. This is critical for achieving a better balance-of-payments, and for strategic considerations. The second is to enable local talent to design and develop solutions for devices for local as well as global markets, which is denied because it is virtually impossible for them to access spectrum, no matter what the stated policies might claim.

Policies and Organisation for Infrastructure Sharing

Further, the government needs to actively facilitate shared infrastructure with policies and legislation. One way is through consortiums for network development and management, charging for usage by authorised operators. At least two consortiums that provide access for a fee, with government’s minority participation in both for security and the public interest, can ensure competition for quality and pricing. Authorised service providers could pay according to usage.

Press reports of a consortium approach to 5G where operators pay as before and the government “contributes” spectrum reflect seriously flawed thinking.3 Such extractive payments with no funds left for network development and service provision only support an illusion that genuine efforts are being made to the ill-informed, who simultaneously rejoice in the idea of free services while acclaiming high government charges (the two are obviously not compatible).

The Committee of Secretaries to mitigate financial stress in telecom must act quickly on interim measures for the sector to survive. But is its mere survival sufficient for India’s development and growth? Is it possible to fix telecom in isolation?Our communications needs are very poorly served, although at rock-bottom prices. Is it even possible for our hapless citizens and enterprises to get past shoddy services and productivity foregone, to trade with other countries on a more even footing?

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How are the new networks different? First, they are integrated, meaning that all media— be they voice, audio, video, or data—are increasingly communicated over a single common network. This integration offers economies of scope and scale in both capital expenditures and operational costs, and also allows different media to be mixed within common applications. As a result, both technology suppliers and service providers are increasingly in the business of providing telecommunications in all media simultaneously rather than specializing in a particular type such as voice, video, or data.

Second, the networks are built in layers, from the physical layer, which is concerned with the mechanical, electrical and optical, and functional and procedural means for managing network connections to the data, network, and transport layers, which are concerned with transferring data, routing data across networks between addresses, and ensuring end-to-end

In this era of globalization, many companies are multinational, with operations—including R&D—conducted across the globe. For example, IBM, HP, Qualcomm, and Microsoft all have research facilities in other countries, and many European and Asian companies have research laboratories in the United States. Increasing numbers of businesses compete globally. Every company and every industry must assess the segments and niches in which it operates to remain globally competitive.

Both Asian and European nations are continuing to pursue strategies that exploit perceived U.S. weakness in telecommunications and telecommunications research as a way of improving their competitiveness in telecommunications, as well as in information technology more broadly. Leapfrogging the United States in telecommunications has, in the opinion of the committee, been an explicit and stated strategy for a number of Asian (in broadband and wireless) and European (in wireless) nations for the past decade, with notable success. These efforts have aimed to stimulate the rapid penetration of physical-layer technologies for residential access (broadband access, especially in Asia) and wireless and mobile access (cellular networks, especially in Europe).

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The creation in 2004 of CISE’s Network Technology and Systems (NeTS) program, however, represents an increased emphasis on telecommunications research at NSF. The new program spans a wide range of research topics in the control, deployment, and management of future networks and provides a framework for interdisciplinary work. Still in development as of this writing, the new Global Environment for Networking Investigations (GENI)—aimed at the exploration of new architectural ideas in experimental facilities that allow investigation at large scale—would represent a major initiative in this area.

DARPA’s support for telecommunications research is now focused more on meeting specialized military needs than on stimulating broader technology advances of use for both commercial and military purposes.

DARPA-sponsored research has led to many significant telecommunications advances in such areas as packet-switched networking, development of ARPANET and the Internet, optical communications, and ad hoc radio networks, as well as to the establishment of successful U.S. telecommunications companies that are now global leaders, including Broadcom, Rambus, and Aetheros. In addition, DARPA has historically played an important role in promulgating visions that stimulated commercial development and adoption of new technologies, as well as in building communities of researchers. In recent years, the focus of DARPA research has shifted toward more immediate or specialized military needs. Putting aside the debate about the extent to which the military’s research portfolio should concentrate on the short term versus the long term, a consequence is the loss of an important source of support for longer-term telecommunications research.

The recommendations below lay out steps that the United States should take to develop and sustain a multifaceted, reinvigorated telecommunications research program. The recommendations envision a greater role for government-sponsored and university research in telecommunications than has been evident in the past and also envision additional investment by industry in more work of a fundamentally high-risk character with more attention to overall architectural issues. The recommendations are all aimed at so-called precompetitive activities; when the time arrives for development, implementation, and deployment, it will be up to equipment and software suppliers to create and manufacture the products and to service providers to deploy the necessary facilities and services.

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development chain from device fabrication to systems design to implementation and operation. It also provided a nucleus for the telecommunications research community. Because of the Bell System’s historical ability to conduct so much research in-house, however, the federal government did not emphasize support for academic research in telecommunications or otherwise encourage academia to address problems important to the telecommunications industry. University researchers themselves tended to concentrate on research areas more amenable to work by individual investigators or small research groups, such as semiconductors, communications theory, and signal processing, leaving to industry research related to the design and operation of large-scale communications networks. Notable exceptions, such as computer networking research supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and NSF (which led to the Internet), illustrate the enormous potential payoff from government-supported and university-based research on new architectural ideas.

In the wake of divestiture in 1984 and industry restructuring that followed, industry support for telecommunications research has declined and has also become less stable and more incremental and short-term in outlook.The U.S. telecommunications industry’s transformation reflects both the series of breakups of the Bell System (divestiture and subsequent reorganization and spin-offs) and the entry of new, non-vertically-integrated telecommunications firms such as cable system operators, Internet service providers, and wireless carriers.2 At the same time, new, often Internet-focused companies have also introduced products and services that help account for the broadening scope of telecommunications referred 

Some had hoped that the former Bell constituents (Lucent Bell Labs, Bellcore, and AT&T Research) could sustain a high level of long-term, fundamental research investments, but this proved impossible given the profound changes occurring in the industry. The telephone companies, facing growing competition, all but eliminated long-term, fundamental research programs, leaving responsibility for technological innovation to their equipment vendors. New telecommunications operators in cable, wireless, and digital subscriber line (DSL) services, lacking dominance and a high-margin foundation, generally adopted the same approach. The cable industry launched its own cooperative research and development activity, CableLabs, which focuses on such matters as standards development and conformance testing and does not support a broad, long-term research program.

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The full benefits of the process depicted in develop over an extended period of time, with a long-term buildup over several years between the seed investments in research and realization of the ultimate bottom-line benefits. Each step takes time: from innovation to mass deployment and impact. Investments by both government and industry in research by academia and industry lead to both short- and long-term contributions.

Over the years, CSTB studies have documented this phenomenon across multiple areas of information technology and telecommunications research. In particular, its 1995 report Evolving the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative to Support the Nation’s Information Infrastructure9 and a 2003 update10 illustrate how long-term investments in research across academia and industry have led to the creation of many new, important U.S. industry segments with revenues that came to exceed $1 billion.

In closing, it is worth noting the perils of losing leadership in telecommunications. Because of the time lag, the nation may continue to exhibit leadership at Levels 4 and 5 (and possibly Level 3) even as it is failing to renew capability at Levels 1 and 2. Since Levels 3 through 5 are most visible to policy makers and the public, there is a potential to perceive the situation as less dire than it really is. If Levels 1 and 2 are left to atrophy, serious problems will occur at Levels 3 through 5. If that happens, then recovery will take a long time—or even prove impossible.

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