DTW24: Generative AI brings both hype and hope

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DTW24 showed a telecoms industry ready to face reality and making quiet progress. This progress may not go far or fast enough to change the future of the industry, but either way AI will play a big role.

DTW 2024

Digital Transformation World (DTW) is TM Forum’s annual landmark event and in 2024 took place in Copenhagen. This event is intended to be a catalyst for innovation in the telecom industry, fostering collaboration to address shared challenges. Industry leaders showed a deep understanding and willingness to tackle major issues such as commoditised connectivity, slow innovation, competition with digital-native companies, and the struggle to find growth beyond connectivity. Optimism surrounded progress in technology and processes, especially in the potential of AI and implementations of TM Forum frameworks to drive significant change, though scepticism remains about whether this change can go far and fast enough to create the true transformation.

It is AI reality that provides hope for the industry

Source: STL Partners

Key Insights

Generative AI adoption: Telecoms are rapidly adopting generative AI, where examples of implementation are rapidly multiplying, both as a productivity tool and in customer-facing systems. AI’s ease of use and broad capabilities, along with telcos being more primed for change, are accelerating the pace of transformation in the industry.

Speed and agility: Increasing speed and agility in telecoms is urgent, with DTW24 showing that AI and cloud-native systems are driving improvements and cautious optimism. However, the true impact remains uncertain, as faster time-to-market must result in innovative products and new business models, with hopes for more examples by DTW25.

Network APIs: The event saw less hype around network APIs than expected. Despite key announcements, such as Google and Nokia’s partnership partership to bring Nokia’s Network as Code platform and Google’s AI capabilities together. Network exposure and NaaS were highlighted as key enablers of business model change, but telcos seem unsure about their direction.

Next Steps

Technologies that could provide a foundation for a true step change in telecoms are developing fast, but only if the industry can maintain momentum and focus. Telcos must not miss this opportunity.

STL Partners will release several publications focusing on AI in telecoms within the next three months. These include tools for tracking generative AI adoption, a study on AI’s value in customer care, and a report on building trust in AI.

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Table of contents:

  • Executive Summary
  • Telecoms is ready to face the music
    • TM Forum shows progress with ODA
    • AI vendors feed the hype machine
    • AI provided not only hype, but also hope
    • Network APIs were not forgotten
  • Conclusion – faster equals stronger
    • Recommendations

Related research:

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Rosalind Craven


Rosalind Craven

Senior Analyst

Rosalind Craven is a Senior Analyst at STL Partners, specialising in telecoms strategy, customer experience and consumer telecoms services.