Employment of radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers is expected to decline through 2014. Although the need for installation work will remain as companies seek to upgrade their telecommunications networks, there will be a declining need for maintenance workperformed by telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installersbecause of increasingly reliable self-monitoring and self-diagnosing equipment and because installation of higher capacity equipment will reduce the amount of equipment needed. The replacement of two-way radio systems with wireless systems, especially in service vehicles, will eliminate the need in many companies for onsite radio mechanics. The increased reliability of wireless equipment and the use of self-monitoring systems also will continue to lessen the need for radio mechanics. Applicants with computer skills and postsecondary electronics training should have the best opportunities for radio and telecommunications equipment installer and repairer jobs.
Job opportunities will vary by specialty. For example, good opportunities should be available for central office and PBX installers and repairers experienced in current technology, as the growing popularity of VoIP, expanded multimedia offerings such as video on demand, and other telecommunications services continue to place additional demand on telecommunications networks. These new services require high data transfer rates, which can be achieved only by installing new optical switching and routing equipment. Extending high-speed communications from central offices to customers also will require the installation of more advanced switching and routing equipment. Whereas increased reliability and automation of switching equipment will limit opportunities, these effects will be somewhat offset by the demand for installation and upgrading of switching equipment.
Station installers and repairers can expect keen competition. Prewired buildings and the increasing reliability of telephone equipment will reduce the need for installation and maintenance of customers’ telephones. Upgrading internal lines in businesses and the wiring of new homes and businesses with fiber optic lines should offset some of these losses. As cellular telephones have increased in popularity, the number of pay phones is declining, which also will adversely affect employment of station installers and repairers as pay phone installation and maintenance is one of their major functions.