The advance of technology heralds changes to the structure of the telecommunications industry. Electronic components will form an increasing proportion of system hardware and there will be fewer components specialized for telecommunications. Equipment hardware will reduce in size and added value but the software content will become significantly higher. With development and engineering being a major and increasing proportion of costs, there is need to concentrate national resources to provide designs which are both competitive in the export field and meet the operational needs of the national network. Whereas speech is still the predominant medium, the forward trend will be to converge speech and data into a total communication package. Technology already provides the potential for the provision of a wide range of services providing growth opportunity in peripheral equipment and greater utilization of the main network. The greatest innovation will be the satisfaction of the latent demand for very wide band transmission through an overlay network using optical carrier technology and this will lead to new dimensions in telecommunications.