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As we step into 2024 the telecommunications landscape is undergoing a profound metamorphosis driven by an amalgamation of groundbreaking technologies and evolving consumer expectations. Among the myriad trends shaping the industry’s trajectory, three pillars stand tall – 5G standalone connectivity, edge computing, and sustainability. These trends not only promise to redefine the way we connect but also underscore the industry’s commitment to delivering faster, smarter, and more environmentally conscious solutions. Here, Marcin Bala, CEO of telecommunications networks specialist Salumanus, explains how these trends will shape 2024.

According to ‘The future on the line’ report by PWC, global data consumption over telecom networks will nearly triple, from 3.4 million petabytes (PB) in 2022 to 9.7 million PB in 2027. To keep up with this significant increase, telcos need to invest in the right equipment, while keeping up with industry trends.


5G standalone

While 5G has been around for several years, it has yet to reach its fullest potential for businesses. Until now, operators have offered 5G services in tandem with 4G in a hybrid mode called 5G non-standalone (5G NSA). This allowed carriers to use new 5G equipment and layer it over the existing 4G LTE core, but it delivered only some of the benefits of 5G.

In the new year, companies will focus on delivering end to end 5G networks in the form of 5G standalone (5G SA), using 5G radios on the edge and a 5G core. 5G SA supports ultra-high density deployments, such as IoT applications that involve a large number of sensors in smart buildings. It can support connectivity of up to one million devices within a single square kilometre, making it ideal for ultra-low latency use cases.

Similarly, unlike 5G NSA, 5G SA supports network slicing, allowing customers to get dedicated network partitions with specified performance guarantees, such as minimum and maximum throughput rates.


Edge computing

When it comes to storing data, many telecom companies still rely on private data centres or centralised cloud. However, due to stringent latency requirements and the ever-growing data consumption, edge computing is becoming the preferred choice.

A new report from Gartner predicts that by 2025, more than 50 per cent of enterprise-generated data will be processed outside a traditional centralised data centre or cloud. In contrast to cloud computing, edge provides real-time data insights and immediate feedback. This is particularly important for autonomous driving or applications based on AI, in which seconds matter most for decision-making.

At the same time, edge provides customers with increased security and privacy. With traditional cloud-based systems, data from IoT devices travels across the network to a data centre for processing. This transit presents potential threats in the infrastructure, where cybercriminals can intercept the data. On the other hand, edge computing allows data to be processed at the edge of the network, near the source of the data. In case of security breaches, the impact is contained to the specific edge node, preventing  the threat from proliferating to the rest of the network.


Green Telecom Networks (GTN)

The GTN concept in telecom represents a new approach aimed at achieving a more sustainable network design and operation. The idea has gained much support in recent years and is likely to become prominent in 2024.

The main aim of GTN is to minimise energy consumption while maximising network efficiency and optimisation. With the development of 5G standalone, telcos have a unique opportunity to incorporate sustainable elements in their networks. For example, decommissioning energy inefficient legacy equipment and incorporating recycled components can ensure that new 5G networks have minimal carbon emissions. A truly GTN would also involve powering the network entirely through renewable energy and automatising most of the network to avoid redundancies.

The telecom industry in 2024 is poised for significant transformation and innovation, driven by a confluence of emerging technologies and evolving consumer demands. The rapid deployment of 5G standalone networks is set to revolutionise connectivity, ushering in an era of ultra-fast, low-latency communication that will underpin the growth of various industries. At the same time, edge computing will bring further advantages for operators and consumers as well, replacing the reliance on cloud computing. Lastly, sustainability will be a main priority for telcos, who should focus on the concept of GTN and designing their networks in an energy-efficient way.

At Salumanus, we help operators keep up with advancements in telecommunications, by offering the latest equipment and ensuring their networks are optimised and sustainable. To find out more about our offering, visit

Lisa Baker is Group Editor for the Need to See IT Publishing Group. Lisa writes about HR, Technology, Health, the Environment and Business.
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