This is your ultimate telecommunications industry guide for 2023, where we explore the key facts, latest statistics, and future trends of this dynamic industry that has revolutionized how we connect.
Table of contents
- History of Telecommunications Industry
- Telecommunications Industry Challenges and Trends
- Telecommunications Industry Companies
- Telecommunications Industry Market Overview
- Telecommunications Industry Market Share
- US Telecommunications Industry
- Canadian Telecommunications Industry
- European Telecommunications Industry
- Telecommunications Industry in UK
- China Telecommunications Industry Overview
- Growth Of Telecommunications Industry in India
- Australian Mobile Telecommunications Industry
- What Is Telecommunications Jobs?
- Telecommunication Industry Outlook
Telecommunications revolutionized the world by enabling distance communication, creating new opportunities such as online education, concluding business at a distance, and facilitating communication with people anywhere.
So, what are telecommunications?
At the simplest definition, Telecommunications, or telecom, means sending information over significant distances through electronic devices.
The most common devices are telephones, radio, satellites, computer networks, and the public internet.
History of Telecommunications Industry
‘Telecommunications’ originates from the Greek prefix tele, which means “distant,” combined with the Latin term communicare, which means “to share.”
The telecommunications industry developed with the invention of the telegraph in the early 19th century.
Main dates in the telecom industry:
- On 7 March 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone.
- Radio broadcasting emerged in the early 20th century.
- On 3 April 1973, Martin Cooper made the first mobile telephone by Motorola company.
- Mobile communication was made possible by the development of cellular technology in the 1980s.
- 1 January 1983 is considered the official birthday of the Internet.
- The World Wide Web emerged in the 1990s, drastically transforming the telecommunications industry.
The industry faces many challenges today, including ongoing competition and technological changes.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the invention of the mobile phone.
Most of us cannot imagine everyday life without it.
Telecommunications Industry Challenges and Trends
Mobile phones and connectivity have become constant in our day-to-day existence, connecting people and data across the globe.
With innovative technologies such as 5G, consumer demands are changing for all industries, and the telecommunications industry is no exception.
The telecommunication industry has experienced exponential growth in recent years, resulting in added challenges.
In order for telco companies to be able to adapt to rapid changes in the industry, it is necessary they follow top telecommunications industry trends.
Some of these trends are:
- 5G technology
- The internet of Things (IoT)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Cloud computing
- 6G technology (TBA)
Telecommunications Industry Companies
The global telecommunications industry is a blend of big and small telco companies.
We’ve covered some of the biggest telecommunication companies out there are:
AT&T is a multinational telecommunications company headquartered in the United States. They offer a variety of telecommunications, media, and technology services.
The company is considered by many to be the biggest telecommunications company of all telecommunications companies.
Monetizing 5G: Unlocking Its Full Potential
Verizon is a leading American telecommunications company that offers telecom services, including wireless and wireline, in the US and globally. They’re known for exceptional network performance, reliability, speed, etc.
Deutsche Telekom – T-Mobile
T-Mobile is the brand name owned by Deutsche Telekom, the largest European telco company. They provide millions of customers worldwide with voice, messaging, and data services, mainly in Europe.
Telefónica is a Spanish multinational telecommunications company that provides mobile, fixed-line, and broadband services and digital products and services to customers in Europe and Latin America.
China Telecom (China)
China Telecom is a Chinese state-owned telecommunications company that provides various telecommunication services to customers in China.
Reliance Jio (India)
Reliance Jio is an Indian telecommunications company providing customers with 4G and 5G mobile networks and other digital services across India.
Other Telecommunications Companies
Huawei, Cisco, Nokia, Ericsson and Qualcomm are examples of other telecom companies, focused on telecommunications infrastructure.
Huawei is valued at 71.2 billion USD, making it the most valuable telecommunication infrastructure company in 2022.
Cisco was a second-ranked brand with a value of 26,6 billion USD.
Moreover, Cisco is the leading Ethernet switch vendor, with around 50% of the market.
Telecommunications Industry Market Overview
AT&T‘s annual revenue for 2022 was 120,741B USD, making it the world’s largest telecommunications company.
For ease of illustration, this is the revenue as of 2020.
|China Mobile||China||98,40B EUR|
|Comcast USA||US||97,10B EUR|
|NTT Japan||Japan||94,20B EUR|
|Deutsche Telekom||Germany||80,50B EUR|
|Softbank Japan||Japan||52,40B EUR|
|China Telecom||China||49,60B EUR|
|América Móvil||Mexico||47,60B EUR|
Meanwhile, the top telecom operators by mobile subscriptions come from Asia.
#1: China Mobile (China)
#2: Reliance Jio (India)
#3: China Telecom (China)
Among them, China Mobile is the world’s largest operator of subscribers.
China Mobile had impressive numbers in the 5G segment in 2022, adding 227.2 million subscribers.
The global count of mobile network smartphone subscriptions hit nearly 6,6 billion at the end of 2022.
By the end of 2028* is predicted to exceed over 7,8 billion subscriptions.
China had the highest smartphone mobile network subscription, with over 950 million users.
India is second with 492,78 million users, while the US is third with 273,76 million users.
Furthermore, it is interesting to define what is happening in terms of data consumption, like mobile and voice data.
The growth in mobile data traffic can be attributed to several factors, such as:
- Increasing number of mobile devices and users
- Growing popularity of applications such as video streaming and online gaming
- Deployment of 5G networks
The COVID-19 pandemic has also significantly impacted mobile data traffic, with many people working from home and relying on mobile devices.
Global mobile data traffic reached 61 exabytes (EB) per month in 2021.
For better representation, 1 EB is equal to 1,000,000,000 GB.
Mobile data traffic is expected to reach 288 EB per month in 2027*, over 250 EB more than in 2018.
On average, US residents used 7.6 GB per month in 2021. Finns are recorders with more than 35 GB data per month.
Due to the popularity of other communication applications, voice minutes are growing slower than they used to.
However, many people still make calls over voice calls.
On average, people use 347 minutes per month (which is still a lot).
Here is more detailed data since 2011.
|Year||Monthly Minutes of Use (MMU)|
Telecommunications Industry Market Share
First let’s look at market share of mobile telecom technology.
This is the global market share of mobile technologies by generation from 2016 to 2021, including predictions for 2025.
4G technology already occupied most of the market.
Anyways, predictions show that in 2025*, 25% of people will be using a 5G network.
5G-enabled smartphones rapidly gain a market share. At the end of 2022, the number reached is 52%.
China has the highest market share of 5G technology. America and Europe follow it.
Leading smartphone vendors: Apple and Samsung
In 2022, Apple displaced Samsung from the throne.
It was also crowned as the most valuable brand in the world in 2022.
In terms of sales, Apple is fantastic. Now, there is more than 1 billion iPhone users in the world.
Telecommunications Industry by Region
The telecommunications industry is a global market that has experienced exponential growth.
We will examine the telecommunications industry by region and market in North America, Europe, China, India, and Australia.
Each region has unique characteristics and regulatory frameworks. We’ll try to present them as best as possible.
US Telecommunications Industry
In the United States, there has been a significant increase in mobile subscriptions in recent years.
In 2021, the number of mobile subscriptions reached a staggering 361,66 million, indicating a growth trend that shows no signs of slowing down.
Look at the statistics of mobile subscriptions in the US telco industry 2011 – 2021.
|Year||Number of mobile subscriptions|
The United States boasts one of the largest mobile communication markets globally, with an estimated 274 million smartphone users.
It’s worth noting that the Apple’s iPhone is the most popular smartphone among Americans.
Furthermore, the US is home to some of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world, including AT&T and Verizon.
And what is the current market share of us telecoms? As for the current Currently, AT&T dominates the industry, making it the world’s largest telecommunications operator based on revenue.
Canadian Telecommunications Industry
Canada has some of the highest prices for mobile and internet.
There mobile data is that expensive, resulting in a trend among Canadians to utilize more texting and calling features.
The Canadian telecommunications market is dominated by big three:
- Rogers Wireless
- Bell Mobility
- Telus Mobility
They control Canada’s fiber-optic cables and signal towers — the infrastructure on which every telecom provider operates.
They wield this market power to their advantage, shutting out smaller players and protecting their profits (they are simply too big and powerful).
There is no doubt that serious reforms are needed in the telecommunications industry in Canada.
European Telecommunications Industry
Europe has a vast and complex telecommunications industry across approximately 44 countries.
Due to the number of players involved, the telecommunications network has become quite intricate to analyze.
In addition to major players, smaller countries have their local mobile phone providers, making the market even more fragmented.
We show some of the leading European telecommunication operators:
- Deutsche Telekom (Germany)
- Telefónica (Spain)
- Vodafone (UK)
- Orange (France)
- BT (UK)
- Telecom Italia (Italy)
- Telenor (Norway)
- Numericable-SFR (France)
Deutsche Telekom is widely regarded as Europe’s telecom leader, with a significant presence in many European countries, including Germany, Austria, Poland, and the Netherlands.
In fact, it is the most profitable telecommunication operator in the region.
Telefónica is another major player in the European telecommunications market and one of the top telecom operators worldwide.
It is primarily used among customers in Spain, where it is the largest telecommunications provider.
Vodafone is another top-rated telecom operator in Europe, especially famous in the UK.
Telecommunications Industry in UK
The United Kingdom telecommunications industry is highly competitive and rapidly evolving.
In fact, the UK’s active mobile subscriber base continues to grow steadily, reaching 97.2 million subscribers in 2021.
There are many telecommunications brands operating in the UK, providing customers with a range of options to choose from.
Vodafone is considered the most valuable telecommunications brand in the UK with a brand value of 19.506 million USD.
Other popular telecommunication brands include:
- British Telecommunications (BT)
China Telecommunications Industry Overview
China, with almost 1.7 billion mobile subscribers, making the world’s largest mobile market.
China is also the frontrunner in the 5G game in deploying and manufacturing cutting-edge 5G devices.
The Chinese telecommunications market is dominated by:
- China Mobile
- China Telecom
- China Unicom
|Telecom company||Mobile subscribers|
In 2022, China Mobile had 975 million subscribers, making it the largest telecommunications company in China.
There is practically no competition for them in the Chinese market.
China Mobile mainly focuses on mobile services, while China Telecom and China Unicom provide the Chinese population with fixed telephony.
Growth Of Telecommunications Industry in India
Affordable mobile data has made India’s smartphone market one of the world’s largest.
In fact, the telecommunication market across India is the second largest in the world.
And it keeps growing.
There were around 1.15 billion mobile subscriptions in 2021.
Average monthly data usage per subscriber: 17 GB.
In India, the telecommunications market is dominated by three major players
- Reliance Jio
- Vodafone Idea
|Telco company||Number of subscribers|
Reliance Jio, popularly known as Jio, has emerged as the clear leader.
Their wireless telecom subscriber base exceeded 419 million in 2022, making it one of the fastest-growing telecom companies in the world.
Australian Mobile Telecommunications Industry
Australia is huge, and its population is spread widely across the continent.
That’s why the Australian telco industry needs a robust telecommunication network.
A huge influence on the Australian telco industry has National Broadband Network (NBN). Their goal is to make fast internet access to all Australians.
Telstra dominated the Australian NBN’s wholesale market share.
Moreover, Telstra has 44% of the market share for mobile phone services.
|Telecommunication company||Market share|
What Is Telecommunications Jobs?
So, if you’re considering a career in the telecommunications industry, this sector offers plenty of job opportunities.
In the US 258,240 employees worked in telecommunications in 2021.
A few more statistics:
China Mobile is the world’s largest telecommunications employer, with a workforce of more than 450k people.
In comparison, Verizon employs approximately 118,000 people, while Vodafone has around 94 thousand employees.
Telecommunication Industry Outlook
As of the close of 2021, mobile service subscriptions reached 5.3 billion individuals, equivalent to 67% of the world’s population.
From now until 2025, there will be more than 400 million new mobile subscribers.
Telcos are facing significant challenges in the telecommunications industry, including keeping up with improved technologies and meeting the greater data demands of customers.
5G is the next major technology to transform telcos’ service delivery.
In addition, global shipments of 5G handsets have increased since it went live in 2019.
Undoubtedly, the key success factor in the telecommunications industry is adapting future technologies.
In fact, the communications industry has already started setting the roadmap for 6G.
The future telcos must prioritize sustainability and revenue growth on the front burner to keep up with the industry’s changing landscape which they cannot escape.
So, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments bellow.
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