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Trends to Watch for in the Indian Telecom Sector This Year

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By: Vivek Tyagi, Managing Director, Analog Devices Inc. India

In 2024, the Indian telecom sector is at the forefront of a major transformation, driven by rapid technological advancements and significant shifts in market dynamics. This year is marked by the increasing importance of semiconductor technology, which is integral to the evolution and enhancement of telecommunications. As we explore the landscape of the telecom sector, it’s essential to focus on the key trends that are shaping its future. These trends highlight the sector’s adaptation to new technological realities and consumer demands, showcasing a blend of innovation, strategic planning, and forward-thinking approaches in the industry. Let’s look into the major trends that are expected to define the Indian telecom sector in 2024.

Advancements in 6G technology

Following the global thrust towards 5G, India is now gearing up to embrace the next wave of wireless technology – 6G. Expected to offer unprecedented data speeds and lower latency, 6G technology is pivotal to India’s vision of staying ahead in the global tech race. Semiconductor innovations, particularly in advanced radio frequency (RF) and millimeter-wave chips, are central to realizing these ambitions. The integration of power-efficient semiconductor designs will be crucial in sustaining these high-performance networks.

Rapid expansion of the IoT ecosystem 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to expand significantly across various sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, and urban infrastructure. This expansion necessitates robust and reliable telecom infrastructure, underscored by advanced semiconductor technology. Key components such as low-power, high-performance microcontrollers, and sensors are essential for the seamless operation of IoT devices. Additionally, specialised communication chips that leverage technologies like Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) are anticipated to enhance the efficiency of IoT connectivity in the telecom sector.

Focus on cybersecurity in telecom

With the increasing reliance on digital technologies, cybersecurity in the telecom sector is becoming more critical. Investments in sophisticated cybersecurity measures are expected to surge, with a focus on safeguarding networks and customer data. Secure elements embedded in semiconductor chips will offer robust protection against cyber threats, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of data transmitted over telecom networks.

Localised content and services

In response to the diverse cultural landscape of India, telecom operators are likely to prioritise localised content and services. Tailoring offerings to regional preferences can significantly enhance user engagement and satisfaction. Collaborations between telecom companies, semiconductor manufacturers, and local content creators are expected to lead to the development of application-specific processors optimised for content processing and language recognition.

Emergence of AI, edge computing, and blockchain

The telecom industry is likely to witness the growing adoption of AI, edge computing, and blockchain technologies. These innovations are set to enable new applications and services, marking a significant shift in the telecom landscape.

India’s leadership in 5G

With one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing 5G networks, India is rapidly emerging as a global leader in 5G technology. The country’s 5G leadership is a testament to its commitment to embracing cutting-edge technology and driving digital transformation on a large scale, paving the way for a myriad of opportunities in various sectors, from healthcare and education to industry and entertainment. In 2023, India had established over 3.97 lakh 5G BTS sites across more than 717 districts, signifying its rapid embrace of 5G technology. This trend is expected to continue in 2024, further enhancing the country’s telecom infrastructure.

Sustainable practices and Green Telecom

In 2024, sustainability is more than a buzzword in the telecom sector; it’s a strategic imperative. Telecommunications companies are vigorously adopting green practices, a shift driven by environmental concerns and operational efficiency. Utilising renewable energy sources is a key strategy, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of network operations. Additionally, optimising energy consumption, especially in power-hungry data centers, is another critical area of focus. This approach not only aligns with global environmental goals but also resonates with the growing eco-conscious customer base. By integrating sustainable practices, telecom companies are not just contributing to a greener planet but are also reaping the benefits of cost efficiency and enhanced corporate responsibility.

Growth of the semiconductor industry

The Indian semiconductor market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.50 percent from 2023 to 2028, driven by the demand in the telecom sector and other industries. The government’s semiconductor mission, with an incentive scheme outlay of $10 billion, underscores this growth trajectory. The revenue in the semiconductor market is expected to reach $8.32 billion in 2024, with integrated circuits dominating at a projected market volume of $3.76 billion in 2024.

The Indian telecom sector in 2024 is characterised by a blend of technological innovation and strategic market evolution. The integration of advanced semiconductor solutions is instrumental in this transformation, catering not only to the growing demands for connectivity and speed but also to the essential aspects of security, sustainability, and personalised user experience. As the sector continues to evolve, the synergy between telecom and semiconductor technologies is poised to play a critical role in shaping India’s digital future.

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