2023 Mobile Network Predictions:
Pain and Progress

By: Geoffrey Hollingworth

Telecom is staring down a year poised for significant economic attrition. It will make 2023 one of the most interesting years yet for our industry.

Change comes faster than usual and is unavoidable when times are hard. I predict we will see hard business decisions made around sustainability, supply chain industrialization, smart use of cloud, and improved automation and network delayering.

Lest there be a whiff of negativity in my tone, let me state explicitly I think this confluence of factors is actually a positive. They make 2023 a perfect year for telecom to accelerate change.

Economic downturn forces harder business decisions

The economic downturn will force telecom to become more practical, remove inefficiencies and make real business progress.

I base this on my experience during the “dot-bomb” collapse of 2000 and what we collectively saw telecom achieve during the pandemic.

Change happens faster when there is no alternative. Then we are always amazed at how quickly and competently progress can happen. Case in point: when Covid sent the world home, telecom transformed and modernized customer care support centers, and supported remote capabilities for workers. We kept the services going. There were no outages. It wasn't chaos. It wasn't crazy. If telecom had to plan this in advance, it would have taken years and there still would have been mistakes. Unavoidable change forced our industry to do what may have seemed impossible seemingly overnight.

2023 will force more radical, harder business decisions. This is going to drive the need for faster change. It’s hard to pinpoint what that change looks like but for me, it doesn’t hinge on a technology answer like Open RAN. Open RAN is just a different enabling approach to get to a different result. One thing I know telecom needs is speed. If we are all being honest, the industry is no longer keeping up with the speed of technology happening outside of our bubble.

I predict that for many operators, a lot of the projects they’ve been dancing with—these “impractical ideas”—could very likely turn out to be growth engines.

Sustainability becomes big

Real progress on sustainability will be made in 2023, mostly for economic and critical infrastructure reasons. One of the reasons telecom sustainability is going to become suddenly so big is because energy prices are going up and energy supply is 


Latest Updates

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel