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Over the past year or so, digital transformation accelerated at an unprecedented rate in societies around the world. Even as vast numbers of people were adapting to their new realities, however, it became increasingly apparent that equally large numbers of people were shut out from being able to do so. Given that the theme of this year’s Telecommunication & Information Society Day, "Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times", it’s worth examining how big that gap is and how it can be bridged.

Read more: Bridging the digital gap: why we should never give up on universal broadband connectivity

The Covid-19 pandemic drove businesses and employees to become more reliant on technology for both professional and personal purposes. Thus, the upsurge of IoT devices. Tens of billions of IoT devices are currently in operation across the globe, from well-known devices like smart speakers and smartwatches to smart homes regulating our air conditioning and heating.

Read more: What’s new with IoT for 2021

The use of cloud-based platforms skyrocketed during the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak, which has helped people work collaboratively, shop online, and stay productive. Organizations that had been using cloud-based infrastructure weathered the storm far more easily compared to those who were ill-equipped and struggled to onboard the right tools for the job. It has been an evolution that no one could have predicted, but millions across the world have been supported as a result of cloud computing.

Read more: Cloud computing vs. edge computing: Similarities and points of contrast

COVID-19 has impacted a large number of countries and is still impacting sectors. We all remember back in February 2020 when the world's largest mobile phone showcase, the Mobile World Congress (MWC), was cancelled over coronavirus concerns, tech giants announced financial results below market expectations, and businesses found the need to re-evaluate near-term and long-term supply chains, resource deployment, and liquidity in the face of what it looked like “a looming global recession,” according to international law firm Baker McKenzie.

Read more: How did Covid-19 mutate the ICT industry in one year

Kenya's mobile market has continued to grow as demand for ICT services rose in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article below, we will showcase the latest stats related to the Kenyan telecom market, based on the report from the Communications Authority of Kenya which provides an overview of the performance and trends in ICT sector for September 2020 to December 2020.

Read more: A study on Kenya’s mobile market

The telecommunications sector in any country is considered one of the economy’s main pillars and sources of income. However, many factors can affect its evolution and the development it could have achieved if it wasn’t for such influencing elements such as poor infrastructure. This is the case of a great number of African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Read more: The challenge of connectivity in the Democratic Republic of Congo

In the past few years, satellite communication has remained standalone technology, independent of mobile networking. But today, it has come a long way improving its technical performance and capabilities as well as becoming much more competitive to match terrestrial offers. The next generation of satellites – built from 5G architecture – will integrate with networks to manage connectivity to cars, vessels, airplanes and other IoT devices in remote and rural areas. The emerging 5G vision opens a new chapter in communications and offers the possibility to consider satellite communication alongside and in combination with terrestrial solutions.

Read more: The rise of Satcoms in the midst of the 5G era

Half the world’s population does not have access to the internet, leaving roughly 4 billion people excluded from the socio-economic benefits of connectivity. 600 million cannot connect simply because they live in largely rural areas without access to mobile broadband coverage. The consequences of the digital divide have been starkly revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as those without broadband have been unable to work from home, attend school lessons or access healthcare services.

Read more: Beamforming tech unleashing faster communication

5G will be the most transformative communications technology and will enable a universe of new services, including advanced energy management capabilities that will be critical to solving growing energy and sustainability challenges.

Read more: Efficiency and sustainability: Key factors for telcos deploying 5G networks

The telecom industry has witnessed in the recent several years significant transformation and development in a bid to connect not only devices, but everything. As such, a new paradigm is on the market today called Open RAN, “where cellular radio networks are comprised of hardware and software components from multiple vendors operating over network interfaces that are truly ‘open and interoperable’,” as defined by Commscope.

Read more: O-Ran: Bridging the digital divide
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