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Telecom's Biggest Vendors in 2022: Analysis of the Top 25 Vendors
[May 05, 2022]

Telecom's Biggest Vendors in 2022: Analysis of the Top 25 Vendors

DUBLIN, May 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Telecom's Biggest Vendors - 4Q21 edition" report has been added to's offering.

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The telco network infrastructure (Telco NI) market had a blockbuster year in 2021. Vendor revenues in the telco vertical surged 7.8% from 2020 to end the year at $232.1 billion (B). This was the biggest market and strongest overall growth in at least 8 years. Strong vendor revenues were consistent with customer spending dynamics: telco capex grew 10% YoY in 2021, to $325B, and opex grew about 5%.

Some of Telco NI's 2021 growth is just a bounce back from COVID-plagued 2020, when telco spending weakened. But more of the growth is due to high overall demand. 5G RAN spending is a driver, but that was more a factor in 2020. In 2021, telcos spent more on 5G core, services deployment, and cloud collaborations. Fiber access was strong in a number of geographies. Transport and IP infra spending is also looking up where 5G penetration is strong and traffic growth requires capacity increases further upstream. Huawei bans are an issue: some incremental capex was spent on rip and replace projects, but the bigger effect was less price competition without Huawei, causing some projects to grow. Finally, a small portion of the market's measured growth can be explained by depreciation of the US dollar: the Chinese RMB and Swedish Kroner, for instance, gained 6.5% and 6.9% in value versus the dollar in 2021, versus 2020.

NEPs dominate top 10, but telcos rely on dozens of services, software and connectivity specialists

The top three vendors in 2021's Telco NI market were the largest three traditional "network equipment providers" (NEPs), as usual: Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia. Their 2021 shares were 18.8%, 11.2%, and 9.1% share, respectively. China Comservice is the largest non-NEP and ended the ear in fourth place; most of its revenues come from Chinese network construction and maintenance projects. ZTE and Cisco, both NEPs, were ranked 5 and 6, respectively. Intel follows with a rank of 7. While the analyst considers Intel an NEP, it is in a class of its own: some of its telco sales are via OEM relationships, and most of the value of its telco offerings are in chips and software. CommScope follows in 8th place. The publisher considers CommScope a connectivity specialist, not an NEP, but it does provide telcos with equipment that goes well beyond connectivity (e.g. small cell baseband controllers). NEC ranked 9 in 2021, with its revenue base a mix of mobile infra, microwave transmission and wireline. The last vendor in the top 10 is Amdocs, considered an IT services provider for this study; its strengths are in telco software and managed services.

While the top 10 accounted for 64% of revenues, there is a long tail of smaller players with key positions in the telco NI market. In total, this study tracks 130 vendors over the 1Q13-4Q21 period. Some of these are no longer active due to acquisition, privatization, or bankruptcy, but 106 of them were active as of 4Q21. Eighty-nine (89) of these had telco NI revenues in excess of $100 million in 2021. Key suppliers of fiber and connectivity products to telcos, for instance, include Hengtong, Fiberhome and Corning, which ranked 11, 12, and 14 overall for 2021. Ciena and Juniper are powerful in the packet optical market, and placed 20th and 25th in 2021, respectively. At the end of the tail, the smallest telco NI vendors within the coverage are Allied Telesis, Net Insight, and SeaChange, with estimated revenues of $17M, $9M, and $20M in the 2021 telco NI market.

2022 Outlook

Many of the key vendors in the telco NI market have optimistic projections for 2022. Among the top 25, for instance, Cisco, Corning, Ciena and Juniper have all issued relatively bullish revenue predictions for the next few quarters. A strong market in the US for fiber and related products (e.g. optical transmission) is one factor. Telco deployment of 5G cores, wireline broadband upgrades, and private wireless networks are other factors. Another factor for some vendors is the opportunity to win "Huawei displacement" business. This was a factor in the mobile RAN in 2020 and to some extent in 2021.

In 2022-23, the Huawei effect will begin spreading more clearly to IP infrastructure, optical, microwave, fixed broadband, and other areas. A number of vendors are eager to pursue new opportunities as this happens, including Adtran/ADVA, Ciena, Cisco, CommScope, DZS, and Infinera. As for overall telco spending, MTN Consulting's late 2021 forecast called for capex in the ~$330B range for both 2022 and 2023, followed by a decline. We will maintain this forecast for now, but reevaluate in late 2Q22.

Key Topics Covered:

  • ABSTRACT - Results commentary
  • 1Q21 Telco NI Market Results
  • CHARTS - Single vendor snapshot
  • CHARTS - 5 vendor comparisons
  • DATA - revenue estimates by company

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