Press releases

Deloitte predicts telecommunications trends for 2017

11 January 2017

  • More than a billion devices, predominantly smartphones, will incorporate fingerprint readers in 2017. There will be over 10 trillion uses of fingerprint scanners this year;
  • 2017 will see 200 carriers worldwide include elements of 5G network architecture within their advanced 4G networks;
  • Findings come from Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2017 report, published today.

The technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) practice at Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has today announced its predictions for the telecommunications sector in 2017. The news comes following the launch of the sixteenth edition of TMT Predictions 2017.

Prints charming: biometric security reaches the billions
According to Deloitte, the active base of fingerprint reader-equipped devices will top one billion for the first time in early 2017. Each sensor will be used, on average, 30 times a day, resulting in more than 10 trillion aggregate uses globally.

According to Deloitte, approximately 40% of all smartphones in developed countries will incorporate a fingerprint reader by the end of the year, up from 30% as of mid-2016. At least 80% of users with a fingerprint reader-equipped smartphone will use this sensor regularly; this compares to 69% of users in mid-2016.

Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte said: “Billions of smartphones and tablets are expected to be capable of processing and collecting multiple types of biometric inputs, including face recognition, voice pattern and iris scan in 2017, but usage of fingerprints will lead the way. The rapid pace of adoption of this technology will likely be met with additional applications that could use fingerprint readers to provide fast and secure authentication.

“The fingerprint has proven to be the most popular form of biometric security on smartphones and the concept of fingerprint security is increasingly becoming normalised. This is important: as fingerprint security becomes more common, consumers will find it easier – and will be more willing to pay for goods and services using their smartphones.”

5G: the evolution continues
This year’s report also predicts that 2017 will see significant tangible steps towards the launch of 5G, the fifth generation of cellular networks. Enhanced 4G networks, namely LTE-Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro, which incorporate many of the core 5G network components, will be commercially available.

By the end of 2017, more than 200 carriers are likely to be offering LTE-A across some of their network, and over 20 should have LTE-A Pro networks. These will have many of the core 5G network components and will acquaint users, businesses and operators with several of the most important features of 5G networks, including significantly higher speeds, lower latency, and support for low-power IoT devices and sensors.

Dan Adams, lead UK partner for telecommunications at Deloitte, comments: “The technology building blocks for 5G readiness are being deployed in 2017, and in some markets are already in place. By the end of 2017 more than 200 carriers will offer these ‘5G-lite’ services across their networks, enabling hundreds of millions of users to access maximum speeds in the hundreds of Mbit/s.

“5G is likely to have a big bang impact. Its long fuse, which incorporates interim milestones in the forms of LTE-A and LTE-A Pro, has already been lit. 5G is undoubtedly a significant, complex upgrade following the culmination of many years of sustained upgrades to 4G networks.”


Notes to editors

The 2017 series of TMT Predictions is the 16th edition of the report and has drawn on internal and external inputs from thousands of conversations with member firm clients and contributions from Deloitte member firms’ partners and managers specialising in TMT, and discussions with industry analysts as well as interviews with leading executives from around the world and proprietary quantitative research.

Please click on the following link to read about Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2017.

Please click on the following links to read about Deloitte’s predictions for the Technology and Media sectors in 2017.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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