The telecommunications, or telecom industry includes all businesses, individuals, and trade organizations that provide communications services to people throughout the world. The global telecom industry not only represents vast amounts in annual revenue, but also employs a large number of people in both office and field positions. Through the telecom industry, consumers can take advantage of telephone, Internet, data transfer, and a number of additional communications services.
Historically, many telecommunications fields have been subject to government regulation or even government ownership. In recent years, however, much of the telecom industry has been subject to deregulation or privatization. This has not only resulted in new deals and greater flexibility for consumers, but also paved the way for rapid innovation and technological advancement.
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Wired communications represent the largest field within the telecom industry. This field includes home telephone service over a landline, faxes, and even cable television. Wired communication also include most residential and commercial Internet services, including dial-up and DSL plans.
The telecom industry is also responsible for transmitting wireless communications, largely through the use of radio towers. This includes the ever-growing cell phone industry, as well as mobile data service for phones and laptop computers. Telecom industry professionals also cover satellite service, including those used in space exploration and government-sponsored programs.
Those interested in a career in this field can choose from many positions. Installers and maintenance personnel make up the largest number of telecom workers, and are responsible for running cables and installing or repairing equipment. These workers may visit homes and businesses to help customers address service concerns, or to train users on equipment. Field personnel are subject to the greatest dangers in this field due to the risk of electrical shock and other injuries.
Other telecom workers are employed in office buildings, and are largely responsible for fielding customers calls. Some work in sales or marketing, while others support field staff. Engineers and software designers may also find positions within this field. All potential telecommunications applicants must stay abreast of the most recent technologies, as the field is rapidly changing to take advantage of new advances.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is an international group that takes responsibility for much of the oversight within this field. This group represents many telecom fields, and is active in a large number of countries. The TIA develops safety and performance standards for telecom equipment and installation, and also invests in worker training within this field.