Telegraph equipment orders have increased over the past year, according to a Bloomberg survey of customers.
The survey found that orders for telegraphs in December 2015 were up 7.6 percent year-over-year and the total number of orders in December was up by 13.7 percent from a year earlier.
In the fourth quarter, orders for electronic telegraph systems were up 8.2 percent.
The market is still dominated by a handful of companies that have dominated the market for years, such as the South African Telecommunications and Multimedia Company (SATM), which makes the system that runs the country’s network, and the Japanese firm Panasonic, which controls the world’s largest telegraph network.
“It’s the biggest market and the most expensive market,” said Ken Wong, president of consultancy firm Wong Securities.
Companies that are making their own telegraph technology or who are trying to capture market share from others are increasingly in competition with one another, Wong said.
A more competitive market could force other companies to introduce products or develop their own products.
For instance, the U.S. wireless industry is also facing competition from China and India, which are building more advanced and sophisticated wireless networks.
“They are in a better position to take market share, because the market is becoming more saturated,” Wong said, adding that these two markets are not immune to technological innovation.
Despite that, Wong believes that technology will continue to improve in the coming years.
Technology has improved in every area, including the number of telegraph poles that can be built and the length of time it takes to install them, Wong noted.
Even with the steep decline in the number and size of telegram and telephone lines, Wong expects the telegraph industry will remain a large, and profitable, business.
Wong noted that telegraph companies are in good shape financially, because they have the capacity to expand the networks they own.
However, they will need to make a profit, and if they cannot do that, they could face a decline in business.
“The only way that they can survive is if they do not make profits, and I think that will be very hard to achieve,” Wong added.
Paying attention to trends, not just for telegram services but for telecommunications as a whole, will be critical to keeping the industry healthy and competitive, Wong added, noting that companies must keep an eye on new products that may be disruptive.
One of the biggest telegraph market trends that Wong expects to see is the introduction of mobile telephony.
“It is important for a company like a telco to understand that this is a very different market than it was a decade ago,” Wong noted, noting the number is still growing.
As more and more people are using telephones and mobile devices, the market has begun to diversify into video, video chat, and video conference, Wong explained.
While the demand for telegrams is rising, the number being transmitted by the telegram system has fallen.
Wong said that telegraphers have a hard time getting new lines to go in because they do most of their work at home.
“They can’t get new lines from any other companies because there is no demand,” he said.