Global data consumption to triple by 2027
Wilson Chow of PwC advises telcos on scaling up infrastructure and optimizing bandwidth management to meet skyrocketing data demands.
The global appetite for data is set to triple by 2027, fueled by data consumption which is expected to surge from 3.4 million petabytes in 2022 to 9.7 million petabytes in 2027.
Wilson Chow, PwC Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Industry Leader said that the massive increase in demand is due to consumer preference for video content.
To keep up, Chow suggested that telcos should "continue to invest and expand in infrastructure development, and seek new investments in upgrading their network infrastructure to handle the growing data volumes."
Chow identifies three key areas for telco investment: infrastructure development, including advanced mobile technology; intelligent bandwidth management using AI technology; and strategic alliances with content providers and infrastructure builders to optimize data flow.
“They should seek out new investment in expanding and upgrading their network infrastructure in order to handle the growing data volumes as well as to provide faster and more reliable connection. And that can be achieved by working with the towers, upgrading the existing equipment and investing in advanced mobile technology, such as 6G,” he said.
With cellular data set to be the fastest-growing category, Chow recommends that telcos stay at the forefront of mobile telecommunication technology advancements. He also points to edge computing and data optimization and compression technologies as ways to deliver content more efficiently and reduce resource strain.
“With 5G technology becoming mature in recent years like in China, US have been heavily researching for the development of the upcoming 6G technology and people are expecting that it will be available by 2030, and 6G is expected to offer a much higher capacity than the current 5G and also lower latency,” he said.
He added that telcos can employ data optimization and compression in order to reduce the amount of data consumed without compromising the quality of their experience.
“How to do that, by implementing technology like video transcoding, adaptive streaming, and also image compression, the telco will be able to deliver content more efficiently, as well as do the string of the labor resources,” he explained.
When asked about the future pricing of data, Chow referenced PwC's global telecom outlook, predicting that internet access revenue will increase to USD 922 billion in 2027, a compound annual growth rate of 4%.
"The network efficiency will increase due to advanced technology from 5G to 6G, and alliances or partnerships will achieve synergy and cost savings," he said.
This efficiency gain, coupled with new revenue streams from emerging use cases, may offset the costs and prevent passing them on to users.