The new year is upon us again, which can only mean one thing. Yes, it is time to dig the crystal ball out of the closet again and make a few predictions. Almost 2 years into a pandemic and with a new surge from Omicron raging through the holidays, what can we possibly say about next year? Well, I’ll give it a try anyway.
- The pandemic will ebb but only slowly, but we will pretend otherwise. In-person events, conferences and such have already restarted to a degree, and there’s little patience left for lockdowns. As long as Omicron stays less deadly overall, some sort of hybrid herd immunity will either be reached or be assumed to have been reached before long.
- 5G will reach the consumer at last. It has been a long time coming, but with more and more infrastructure in place and the enterprise market already moving forward, devices and services targeted at the consumer marketplace will become more commonplace. Uptake won’t be too quick at first though, as nobody is really making the case for why folks need it or what it does.
- SASE will arrive. So many are working on this interface between access, edge, and security that this is inevitable, and in 2022 the land rush to upgrade SD-WAN will break out from theory into practice, and the enterprise market will respond positively. The tech landscape will be chaotic at first of course.
- M&A will focus on data centers and the last mile in the US as cloud, edge and FTTH continue to dominate the room. The middle mile and the core will continue to turn their attention toward organic growth. That is not to say there will be no activity on that front, but it will be smaller tuck-in acquisitions by consolidation platforms backed by infrastructure funds. We might see bigger fiber deals outside the US though.
- EXA Infrastructure and its backers at I-Squared will buy more assets in Europe or in the subsea realm.
- EQT, Digital Colony, and Macquarie will each do another big deal, at least one of which will take them deeper into FTTH.
- Supra-regional providers like Everstream, Bluebird, FirstLight, and Lumos will look to further flesh out their edge data center reach via M&A to complement their connectivity offerings to the enterprise market.
- A cable MSO will make a deal to jump-start their SASE dreams to the SMB and enterprise markets, perhaps Cox.
Ok, that’s where I’m expecting things to happen in 2022. What do you think will happen? Leave your own projections in the comments below.
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5G fixed wireless services will start to offer some tangible competition in the last mile. I think we will see uptake in urban MDU buildings that have exlusibity agreements with a single provider. There are plenty of buildings in the Northeast like this that just have Comcast or Spectrum as the single provider.