Network operator AI spend to reach $15bn by 2024
Written by: Charlotte Hathway | Published:

Total operator spend on AI solutions will exceed $15 billion by 2024, according to a new study from Juniper Research. This is up from from $3 billion in 2020.

Network optimisation and fraud mitigation solutions were identified as the most highly sought-after AI‑based services over the next 4 years. AI can be used to automate network functionalities including routing, traffic management and predictive maintenance solutions.

The new research – titled ‘AI Strategies for Network Operators’ – predicts that growing demand for operational efficiencies will drive operators in ‘developed regions’, such as North America and Europe, to increase their overall investment into AI over the next 4 years. Operators in those regions are predicted to account for over 40% of AI spend by 2024, despite accounting for less than 20% of global subscribers.

This contrasts with operators in ‘emerging markets’, whose AI spend is predicted to exceed $5 billion by 2024, rising from $900 million in 2020. The study found that this growth will be driven largely by operators exploring early use cases of AI before expanding the presence of AI in their networks to include more comprehensive services.

The Indian Subcontinent and Africa & Middle East are forecast to experience the highest growth in spend on AI services, with operator spend in both regions forecast to grow over 550% over the next 4 years. Juniper Research anticipates that operators in these regions will initially invest in AI-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions that yield immediate benefits.

The research project was led by Kostadina Yanakieva and users can manipulate the forecast data and charts to test their own assumptions using Juniper Research’s Interactive Scenario Tool. Users can also compare select markets side by side in customised charts and tables.


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