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Total communications industry revenue increased to $3.5tn, driven by steady growth of fixed and mobile telecoms 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 saw 0.6% growth in mobile CSP revenues and 1.6% growth in rolling 12 month fixed CSP revenue. Increase in cloud migration, e-commerce, and OTT services led to 15.9% growth in ICP revenues. CSPs dependency on carrier neutral providers for telecom towers and data centers led to increase in CNP revenues by 8.7% in 4Q18.
  • Mobile capex for rolling 12 months increased 1.9% YoY as 5G-related initiatives gained momentum. Fixed CSP capex declined 4.3% in 4Q18. ICP capex for rolling 12 months grew 42.2% in 4Q18. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google made capex investments of over $78bn in the 12 months ending 4Q18 – $6bn more than the total CSP capex of Europe in the same period.
  • CP capital intensity declined to 14.5% in 4Q18. For fixed telecom business it declined to 20% as investmens in traditional fixed businesses continues to decline partly offset by increasing fiber optics connectivity investment. Mobile capital intensity improved with increase in 5G-related investments and geographic expansion of LTE services in developing countries.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses recent growth trends for four types of service providers – CSPs (both fixed and mobile), ICPs, and CNPs – accounting for $3.5tn 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 4Q18?
  • 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: 4Q18