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Network Operator Forecast Through 2026 (June 2022 update)

This network operator forecast aggregates expectations for three network operator segments: telco, webscale, and carrier-neutral (CNNO). In 2021, these three markets accounted for $4.116 trillion of revenues (+14.9% YoY), $532 billion of capital expenditures (capex)(+15.4% YoY), and 8.91 million employees (+4.4% YoY). Over the last several years, the webscale market has grown rapidly, which accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic as business shifted online. Webscale growth will drive the market going forward through 2026, as well. For the 2017-21 five-year period, webscale accounted for 26.4% of total capex, but that will rise to 37.2% of total over the next five years. Telcos will still account for the majority of total network operator capex, or 54.4% of capex over the next five years, but that’s down from 67.6% of total in the previous 5 years. For 2026 alone, telco capex will drop slightly below 50% of total. Meanwhile, CNNOs continue to rise in importance from a small base; their capex will rise from 5.8% of total in 2021 to about 8.7% of the 2026 market. 

There are hundreds of network operators across the globe, of various types. We cover about 200, across the telco/webscale/CNNO market. A small number of very large players stand out....

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Best regards,
Matt Walker
Chief Analyst
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