As the smart speaker wars roll on, Huawei trumps Apple in 5G, Google plays a game of catch-up, and Samsung reveals another foldable phone, these are just a few of the top trends affecting the telecoms industry over the next two years. As telcos in countries across the world struggle to maintain revenue and profits, they now have the chance to innovate and proactively advance their business in 2020.

According to this new study from IDC, the top 10 trends will result in $120 billion of new investments within the US telecoms industry. An additional $106 billion of investments are forecast for the rest of the world. The five biggest investments are based on leveraging 5G’s new capabilities for consumers and business, expanding mobile and WiFi reach in new markets, as well as other key technologies including machine-to-machine communication.

“As the market grows ready for 5G and a slew of related technologies, we believe that operators will step up and invest in areas that drive the most business value,” said Bill Densmore, Senior Analyst at IDC in a press release. “The race is on for mobile operators to achieve at least 4G quality at a reasonable price before 5G arrives, otherwise customers will likely turn to other services — and multiple competitors will still be hungry for market share in LTE coverage.”

The two biggest opportunities driving the most investment will be service expansion (i.e. mobile and WiFi) and machine-to-machine communications (i.e. connected cars, smart sensors and other IoT products). Together, these 2 categories represent 29% of total 5G investment, coming in at $72 billion or 36% of total 5G spending.

10 Key Trends And Developments for the Telecoms Industry: 2020 to 2021

1. 5G opens new business opportunities for telcos

2. 5G revolutionizes IoT

3. 5G adoption driven by premium subscriptions

4. Service rollouts in key growth markets

5. Mobile appification by services

6. U.S. still “far from getting advanced” on 5G deployment

7. IoT, M2M business wins in 2020 for telcos

8. 5G still too expensive in emerging markets, says analyst

9. Google 5G is 2017, Huawei 5G is 2019

10. 5G could go bankrupt in 2019. Not true, say analysts