The importance of the telecommunications industry to global growth, prosperity, and innovation cannot be overstated. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this has become even more apparent. Travel restrictions, working from home (WFH) arrangements, and limitations on gatherings mean that telecommunications systems have stepped in to replace important face-to-face interactions. The telecommunications sector is accommodating the rapid shift in working arrangements, helping businesses to stay in operation and communities connected in unprecedented conditions.

Almost every industry needs to transmit data, signals, and messages through secure and reliable means. The pace of innovation and development in a country or region is often tied to the health of the telecommunications system. While the pandemic’s long-term effects on how we work and communicate are not clear, access to a stable telecommunications sector remains vital to full economic participation.

IT sector spending on telecommunication services
1.33 trillion U.S. dollars
Largest telco by revenue
Annual mobile data traffic
51 exabytes

Market size

Growth expected to return by 2022
Global telecom services spending forecast from 2018 to 2024 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

The essential nature of the telecommunications sector insulated it somewhat from the effects of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some revenue models were less successful, and global spending on telecom services contracted slightly from 2019 to 2020, likely due to a reduction in non-essential spending by business and private customers. Spending is expected to increase in each year moving towards 2024, as enterprises resume normal activities and the economic recovery begins.

Global telecommunications industry: financial insight
Telecommunication services
Telecommunications equipment

Market segments

Fixed and wireless connections cover all bases
Benefits and costs of full 5G deployments across use cases in Europe (in billion euros)
Further details: Visit original statistic

Mobile communications are a key segment of the telecommunications industry. Whether it is the latest mobile broadband standards such as 5G, advancements in smartphone technology, or the rollout of mobile infrastructure, mobile and wireless have a central role in telecommunications.
While wireless continues to become more significant, fixed connections remain a vital service. The number of fixed-broadband continues to grow, adding 75 million users from 2018 to 2019.

Mobile broadband
Mobile communications in the United States
Fixed internet and telephone services

Industry trends

5G to speed up innovation
Number of 5G subscriptions worldwide from 2019 to 2026 (in millions)
Further details: Visit original statistic

5G is the primary focus for many sectors of the telecoms industry. Spectrum auctions are either underway or have already been finalized in many markets, 5G-enabled devices are widely available and making their way into the hands of consumers, and businesses are exploring ways to make to most of the new broadband standard in the coming years. 5G will open new opportunities for several industries and use cases.

Economic contribution of the 5G value chain
5G in China

Industry leaders

AT&T sees a slight reduction in 2020
AT&T's consolidated revenue from 1st quarter 2010 to 1st quarter 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

The telecommunications industry is made up of a mix of large and small players across the world. While AT&T generates more revenue than any other operator, with 171.76 billion U.S. dollars, the total value of China Telecom’s asset base is significantly larger.
Aside from services, telecommunications infrastructure and equipment are an essential part of the telecommunications market. Key players in this space include Huawei, Cisco Systems, Fujitsu, Nokia, and Qualcomm.


Regional overview

A truly global industry
Forecast of worldwide telecom services spending from 2018 to 2024, by region (in billion U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

The telecommunications industry is truly global, with a presence on every continent on earth, including remote corners of Antarctica. As standards and technology improve across the sector, our ability to stay connected regardless of our physical location is only set to improve. Network expansion and affordable devices are improving opportunities to connect in remote areas across Africa, opening up new opportunities for economic inclusion.

Mobile telecom services in Africa
Telecommunications in Asia Pacific
Telecommunications in Europe

Industry Definition

The telecommunications sector covers the companies and regulatory authorities that provide the services and infrastructure required to transmit signals, messages, and data. Primarily, this includes fixed-line and mobile internet and telephony services.

More interesting topics from the industry "Telecommunications"

More interesting topics from the industry "Telecommunications"


Get in touch with us. We are happy to help.
Statista Locations
Contact Hadley Ward
Hadley Ward
Sales Manager– Contact (United States)

Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm (EST)

Contact Ziyan Zhang
Ziyan Zhang
Customer Relations– Contact (Asia)

Mon - Fri, 11:30am - 10pm (IST)

Contact Kisara Mizuno
Kisara Mizuno
Customer Success Manager– Contact (Asia)

Mon - Fri, 9:30am - 5:30pm (JST)

Contact Lodovica Biagi
Lodovica Biagi
Director of Operations– Contact (Europe)

Mon - Fri, 9:30am - 5pm (GMT)

Contact Catalina Rodriguez
Catalina Rodriguez
Key Account Manager - LAC– Contact (Latin America)

Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm (EST)