We are using an increasing number of screens, professional apps that enable us to work on the move and connected devices and appliances. As a result, our needs for connectivity are growing, which calls for the development of fixed and mobile networks that are more agile and easier to use and access. Artificial intelligence has progressed as a result of big data, more sophisticated algorithms, low-cost processing power and investment from a variety of sources, predominantly from the US and Asia. Artificial intelligence (opens in a new window) improves operational efficiency across almost all of the Group’s business lines by optimising networks, resolving user problems in IT services and tailoring service delivery to individual needs. It also powers new, value added services for customers such as virtual assistants.
Consolidation in Europe has slowed since the mergers of 2014 and 2015, even though there are considerably more telecommunications operators in the region compared with America or China, for example. Global competition is extremely fierce and certain operators are generating new revenue streams by monetising data. Despite this trend, managing personal data has become an increasingly important consideration. In 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, providing Member States with a new legal framework for data management. Lastly, cybersecurity is another increasingly important area, requiring a strategy to protect against the growing threats of cyberattacks and service disruptions.
In 2018, half of the world’s population still did not have access to the internet and e-illiteracy continued to be widespread amongst many of those who did have access. Digital exclusion makes it difficult for people to access essential services, information and knowledge; nor can they enjoy its economic benefits, such as job opportunities and increased purchasing power. Furthermore, companies nowadays have a responsibility to protect human rights that goes far beyond their own actions. They must also ensure that this same responsibility is also met by their suppliers and subcontractors. In order to position ourselves as a trusted operator, we have placed freedom of expression and data protection as the foundation for our customer relationships. These considerations are no less important than network quality and reliability. The rise of extreme weather events and the publication of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brought the immediate consequences of climate change closer to home, underlining the need for individuals and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.