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4 AI Trends To Watch for in Telecom

Illustration considering new trends in communications
Communication trends to watch for the future of Telecommunications. [Getty / Miakievy]

Staying on top of communication trends can - and will - help your telecom company earn profitable growth. Spoiler alert: AI is your ace in the hole.

The communications industry is constantly changing – are you keeping up? With enhanced connection, higher performance, and still being asked to provide value amid competitiveness, the future depends on balancing it all. 

We took a deep dive into future communication trends, including the monetization of 5G, integrating AI, and cross-skilling your telecom teams, all influencing the industry’s growth and business strategy. It’s pushed communications teams toward finding new revenue sources, decreasing costs, and building better relationships with customers. 

Now, AI plays a major role in all of these trends. 

These four industry trends will play a critical role in maintaining profitable growth, and showcase how AI can ensure these transitions are successful. 

1. AI-enhanced bundled offerings

The communications industry has leveraged a subscription model almost since the outset over one hundred years ago. But what’s interesting now is companies are beginning to extend their revenue streams by partnering with third parties on services and products. We’re seeing a wide variety of marketplaces appearing in many domains – bringing partners together to develop new bundled offerings that cater to a more sophisticated customer whether they are businesses or consumers. 

On the consumer side, for example, SingTel – one of Asia’s leading communications and digital services providers – provides broadband service to online gamers. They partnered with a popular gaming chair company and soon became one the region’s largest sellers of gaming chairs and is now collaborating with numerous companies across the e-sports and gaming landscape — amplifying their reach. 

On the business side, it could be cell service and fixed wireless usage access for broadband along with a cybersecurity package.

AI can help your telecom get started with all of this by:

  • searching for new partners to include in the marketplace;
  • finding new customer segments that you haven’t used before;
  • creating and testing new offers, writing marketing copy, and creating artwork.

Glimpse into the future of telecom 

Discover new communication processes, revenue models, and technologies that reduce costs and increase efficiencies.

2. Delivering in-the-moment experiences with 5G

In our digital-driven world, brands, retailers, and influencers strive to captivate larger audiences with immediate, “in-the-moment” experiences. Communication Service Providers (CSPs), harnessing the potential of 5G and edge technologies, are uniquely positioned to offer innovative digital experiences. Experiences like augmented reality pop-ups, enable businesses to engage customers during pivotal moments such as product launches, sports events, and concerts.

For instance, a 5G provider can partner with brands, retailers, and influencers to deliver these in-the-moment experiences. Businesses now have the ability to offer augmented reality pop-ups to expand their audiences during pivotal moments such as product launches, sporting events, or concerts. 

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3. Democratization of automation and AI in the flow of work

There is still work to be done in getting the most out of automation – let alone AI. AI needs to be “in the flow of work” to help make your employees – and your customers – more productive. 

And they have to use it! User adoption is key. Of the 56% of communications companies that are investing in generative AI, only 21% are using it – and just 15% of companies have a unified view of customer data. Aligning those data elements, formats, and structures is important to eliminate inconsistencies and make it easier to compare and analyze. 

You also have to ensure your workforce is empowered and skilled enough to utilize the technology. A SAS survey of decision makers from major U.S. firms spanning nine sectors, including communications, says 63% of respondents believe that they don’t have enough high-quality AI and machine learning resources.

Dr. Sally Eaves, AI expert, author, and speaker who contributed to the report, said: “The good news is employers have already begun to recognize the value of on-the-job training and other certifications as stated in the report.” 

The report outlines three recommendations to address the data science skills gap:

  • Narrow down analytics tools that will empower users to do basic analytics tasks, allowing data scientists to focus on core tasks. By democratizing analytics, more people can join the field.
  • Upskill and cross-skill your existing workforce, including people from non-technical backgrounds. Encourage employees to earn certifications outside of the core functions, including training courses from software tools vendors.
  • Keep a consistent cadence of learning by setting up in-house training or providing incentives and funding for employees to attend training courses.

4. Trusted AI-powered customer experiences

It’s clear that telecom customers want excellent – and personalized – journeys and service. Findings from our State of the Connected Customer Report show more than half — 56% of customers expect offers to be personalized. For that we need data, but we also need to make sure that it’s protected, or customer trust will be quickly broken. Another recent research report from Salesforce, Trends in Ethical Marketing, found that 86% of customers are more loyal to ethical companies.

Rules and safeguards such as data masking – the process of replacing sensitive information with anonymized data for protection and privacy compliance – need to be built in. You can also use masking to ensure you’ve eliminated all personal data when writing AI prompts or training an AI model. 

Here’s an example of how your telecom can use AI to get started. 

Say your communications company is pushing service upgrades to existing customers, and you’re using AI to collect customer data to identify who to upsell to based on usage patterns. 

To do this, you create an AI workflow that identifies frequent travelers who use international roaming and can save money from an international calling package. The workflow launches a personalized message to the customer with an offer to switch to the international calling package. The message also contains clear explanations of why the company believes these services are relevant to them and ensures that the customer understands how their data was obtained along with how their data was masked, anonymized, and encrypted for their safety. Taking these transparent steps ensures trust with the customer while providing them with the personalized service they expect and deserve. 

In the ever-transitioning times of the communications industry, the landscape is changing rapidly. However, AI and the role it has, is certain to play in the future of telecommunications will be crucial in the years to come. 

Whether it be from enhancing marketplace opportunities or democratizing the ability of workers across your company to be more efficient, it all builds a foundation of trust. It’s how the industry will build more profitable growth. 

Jonathan Phillips Senior Director, Communications Industry Marketing

Jonathan Phillips is the senior director of communications industry marketing at Salesforce. He brings over 25 years of experience in business and technical architecture, solution consulting, and enterprise applications of CRM, contact centers, and telecommunications networks. As a well-respected industry leader, he regularly engages with customers and speaks at conferences and training sessions around the world.

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