Webscale Supply Chain Developments in 2019
Webscale operators becoming more self-sufficient as they spend less on capex, more on R&D, relying more on partnerships to grow networks & cloud offerings
By Matt Walker

Deploying 5G will be expensive and many telcos are already short on cash. Telcos are seeking ways to benefit from the webscale sector’s scale & software expertise, while not giving up their core business. Webscale operators are looking at the telco sector as not just a nuisance, but rather an important customer segment, and as a partner in deploying new technologies & services to the mass market. The biggest theme to emerge from webscale supply chain developments in 2019 was not a technology topic. Rather, it is the growing potential for webscale-telco collaboration, where webscale players function more as suppliers and partners than rivals.

This report provides a high-level review of such collaboration. It also reviews recent chip development efforts of key webscale operators.

In February, MTN Consulting will publish a more detailed annual review of supply chain developments in the webscale sector. That report, “Webscale Supply Chain Landscape: 2019 Review,” a database product, will review in more detail webscale operators’ chip development efforts, and the growing range of industry partnerships WNOs have cemented to flesh out their network and service offerings. The report will also address some of the more traditional procurement deals for technology key WNOs have entered into in 2019, such as Oracle’s purchase of chips from Ampere Computing for the servers Oracle is using in its current cloud buildout. 

Table Of Contents


Figure & Charts

  • Figure 1: WNO R&D spending and Capex as % revenues (annualized)
  • Figure 2: Annualized profitability rates for WNOs.
  • Figure 3: AT&T vs. Microsoft: Annualized capital intensity since 4Q11.
  • Figure 4: Webscale chip activities in 2019.