A Nvidia sponsored survey of more than 400 telecommunications industry professionals from around the world found a cautious tone in how they plan to define and execute on their AI strategies. Virtually every telco is already engaged with AI in some way, although mostly at an early stage. NVIDIA’s first “State of AI in Telecommunications” survey consisted of questions covering a range of AI topics, infrastructure spending, top use cases, biggest challenges and deployment models. The survey was conducted over eight weeks between mid-November 2022 and mid-January 2023.
Amid skepticism about the money-making potential of 5G, telecoms see efficiencies driven by AI as the most likely path for returns on investment. 93% of those responding to questions about undertaking AI projects at their own companies appear to be substantially underinvesting in AI as a percentage of annual capital spending.
Some 50% of respondents reported spending less than $1 million last year on AI projects; a year earlier, 60% of respondents said they spent less than $1 million on AI. Just 3% of respondents spent over $50 million on AI in 2022.
The reasons cited for such cautious spending? Some 44% of respondents reported an inability to adequately quantify return on investment, which illustrates a mismatch between aspirations and the reality in introducing AI-driven solutions. 34% cited an insufficient number of data scientists as the second-biggest challenge.
The biggest telco objectives for AI are to: optimize operations (60%), lower costs (44%) and enhance customer engagement (35%). Respondents cited use cases ranging from cell site planning and truck-route optimization to recommendation engines.
Just over a third of respondents said they had been using AI for more than six months. 31% said they’re still weighing different options, 18% reported being still in a trial phase and only 5% said they had no AI plans at all. Most industry execs say they see AI technologies will positively impact their business – 65% agreed AI was important to their company’s success, and 59% said it would become a source of competitive advantage.
Operators are spending a fraction of their capex budgets on AI projects – last year half said they spent less than $1 million on AI. At the top end, 2% spent more than $50 million in 2021, with that number rising to 3% in 2022.
The latest AI Index compiled by Stanford University puts telcos at the forefront of AI deployment. Using its own data and that from a McKinsey study, it found that the highest level of AI adoption is in product or service development by hi-tech companies and telcos (45%), followed by AI in service operations (45%).
The biggest single application in any industry was natural language text understanding deployed by 34% of hi-tech and telco firms, with 28% implementing AI-based computer vision and 25% using virtual agents.
- Moving from proof of concept to production/scale 47%
- Economic uncertainty 46%
- Infrasctructure upgrades 46%
- Market differentiation 34%
- Change in priority of data science 20%
- 92% will either increase or maintain their AI spend in 2023.
Allied Market Research: Global AI in telecom market forecast to reach $38.8 by 2031 with CAGR of 41.4% (from 2022 to 2031)
The case for and against AI in telecommunications; record quarter for AI venture funding and M&A deals
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in telecom uses software and algorithms to estimate human perception in order to analyze big data such as data consumption, call record, and use of the application to improve the customer experience. Also, AI helps telecommunication operators to detect flaws in the network, network security, network optimization & offer virtual assistance. Moreover, AI enables the telecom industry to extract insights from their vast data sets and made it easier to manage the daily business and resolve issues more efficiently and also provide improved customer service and satisfaction.
The growing adoption of AI solutions in various telecom applications is driving market growth. The rising number of AI-enabled smartphones with a number of features such as image recognition, robust security, voice recognition and many as compared to traditional phones is boosting the growth of AI in the telecommunication market. Furthermore, to cater to complex processes or telecom services, AI provides a simpler and easier interface in telecommunication. In addition, growing Over-The-Top (OTT) services, such as video streaming, have transformed the dissemination and consumption of audio and video content. With more consumers turning to OTT services, consumer demand for bandwidth has grown considerably. Carrying such ever-growing traffic from OTT services leads to high operational Expenditure (OpEx) for the telecommunication industry. Hence, AI helps the telecom industry to reduce operational costs by minimizing the human intervention needed for network configuration and maintenance. However, the major restraint of the AI in telecommunication market is the incompatibility between telecommunication systems and AI technology. Contrarily, the increasing penetration of AI-enabled smartphones in the telecommunication industry, and the advent of 5G technology in smartphones are expected to provide major growth opportunities for the growth of the market. Since advancements such as 5G technology in mobile and the rising need to monitor content on the tale communication network to eliminate human error from telecommunication are driving the growth of the market. For an instance, the Chinese government trying to improve its network services and telecommunication services; hence China Telecom Corporation has started a new 5G base station in Lanzhou city. Therefore, these factors are expected to provide numerous opportunities for the expansion of the AI in telecommunication market during the forecast period.
Allied Market Research published a report, titled, “AI in Telecommunication Market by Component (Solution, Service), by Deployment Model (On-Premise, Cloud), by Technology (Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Data Analytics, Others), by Application (Customer Analytics, Network Security, Network Optimization, Self-Diagnostics, Virtual Assistance, Others): Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021-2031.”
According to the report, the global AI in telecommunication industry generated $1.2 billion in 2021, and is estimated to reach $38.8 by 2031, witnessing a CAGR of 41.4% from 2022 to 2031. The report offers a detailed analysis of changing market trends, top segments, key investment pockets, value chain, regional landscape, and competitive scenario.
Drivers, Restraints, and Opportunities:
Growing adoption of AI solutions in various telecom applications, the ability of AI to provide a simpler and easier interface in telecommunication and reduce the human intervention needed for network configuration and maintenance, and the growing demand for high bandwidth with more consumers turning to OTT services drive the growth of the global AI in telecommunication market. However, the incompatibility between telecommunication systems and AI technology hampers the global market growth. On the other hand, the increasing penetration of AI-enabled smartphones in the telecommunication industry, and the advent of 5G technology in smartphones likely to create potential opportunities for growth of the global market in the coming years.
- The global artificial intelligence in telecommunication market saw a stable growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, owing to the increasing digital penetration and rise in automation.
- Moreover, the pandemic led the telecommunications infrastructure to keep businesses, governments, and communities connected and operational. The social and financial disruption caused by the pandemic forced people to depend on technology such as AI for information and remote working.
- AI also helped the telecom industry to reinvent customer relationships by identifying personalized needs and engaging with customers through hyper-personalized one-to-one contacts. It also helped configure fixed-line and mobile-network bundles that combine VPN, teleconferencing, and productivity apps.
The solution segment to dominate in terms of revenue during the forecast period:
Based on component, the solution segment was the largest market in 2021, contributing to more than two-thirds of the global AI in telecommunication market, and is expected to maintain its leadership status during the forecast period. This is due to the adoption of solutions by various end users for the automated processes. On the other hand, the service segment is projected to witness the fastest CAGR of 44.9% from 2022 to 2031, due to surge in the adoption of managed and professional services.
The on-premise segment to garner the largest revenue during the forecast period:
Based on deployment model, the on-premise segment held the largest market share of nearly three-fifths of the global AI in telecommunication market in 2021 and is expected to maintain its dominance during the forecast period. This is because it provides added security of data. The cloud segment, however, is projected to witness the largest CAGR of 43.8% from 2022 to 2031, as cloud provides flexibility, scalability, complete visibility, and efficiency to all processes.
The machine learning segment to exhibit a progressive revenue growth during the forecast period:
Based on technology, the machine learning segment held the largest market share of more than two-fifths of the global AI in telecommunication market in 2021, and would maintain its dominance during the forecast period. This is because machine learning algorithms are designed to keep improving accuracy and efficiency. The data analytics segment, however, is projected to witness the largest CAGR of 46.1% from 2022 to 2031, as it helps telecom companies to increase profitability by optimizing network usage and services.
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Asia-Pacific to maintain its leadership in terms of revenue by 2031:
Based on region, North America was the largest market in 2021, capturing more than one-third of the global AI in telecommunication market. The growth in the region can be attributed to the infrastructure development and technology adoption in countries like the U.S. and Canada. However, the market in Asia-Pacific is expected to lead in terms of revenue and manifest the fastest CAGR of 45.7% during the forecast period, owing to the growing digital and economic transformation of the region.
Leading Market Players:
- Intel Corporation
- Nuance Communications, Inc.
- Infosys Limited
- ZTE Corporation
- IBM Corporation
- Google LLC
- Salesforce, Inc.
- Cisco Systems, Inc.
The report analyzes these key players of the global AI in telecommunication market. These players have adopted various strategies such as expansion, new product launches, partnerships, and others to increase their market penetration and strengthen their position in the industry. The report is helpful in determining the business performance, operating segments, product portfolio, and developments by every market player.
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The case for and against AI in telecommunications; record quarter for AI venture funding and M&A deals