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Total communications industry revenue increased to $3.4tn, driven by steady growth of fixed and mobile telecom operators along with rapid growth shown by internet content providers (ICPs) and carrier neutral providers (CNPs).


  • Increase in demand for high-speed broadband (both fixed and mobile), content, and enterprise services led to the 3.7% growth in mobile CSP revenues and 2.2% growth in fixed CSP revenues for the rolling 12 months period. Increase in cloud migration, e-commerce, and OTT services led to the 16.6% growth in ICP revenues. More CSPs depend on carrier-neutral providers for telecom towers and datacenters leading to increase in CNP revenues by 9.6% in 3Q18.
  • Mobile capex for rolling 12 months increased 3.7% YoY as 5G-related initiatives gained momentum. Fixed CSP capex declined in 3Q18. ICP capex for rolling 12 months jumped by 40% in 3Q18. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google made capex investments of over $72bn in the 12 month period ending 3Q18. This is close to the total $74bn CSP capex of the whole of Europe during the same period.
  • CP capital intensity declined to 13.7% in 3Q18. Capital intensity for fixed telecom business declined to 18% as faster mobile broadband replaces the need for fixed communications. Mobile capital intensity saw positive momentum with increase in 5G-related investments and geographic expansion of LTE services in developing countries.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses recent capex trends for four types of service providers: CSPs (both fixed and mobile), ICPs, and CNPs – accounting for $3.4tn in annual revenues.
  • Examines growth rates and market share data for planning, competitive intelligence, and marketing.
  • Assesses near-term outlook for CP capex and the vendors selling into the market.
  • Identifies key trends shaping major capex projects in 2019.

Key questions answered

  • Which communications provider segments saw revenue growth in 3Q18?
  • Which segments and companies are spending the most on their networks, and how is that changing over time?
  • What is driving growth in the ICP sector, and how are these companies impacting the broader communications tech industry?

Table of contents


  • Introduction
  • download 1: Communications Provider Revenue & Capex Highlights: 3Q18