Worldwide spending on telecom services and pay TV services totalled US$1.6 trillion (€1.4 trillion) in 2018, an increase of 0.8% year over year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Telecom Services Database.
IDC says that it expects that figure to be topped by 2023, with worldwide spending predicted to reach US$1,657 billion (€1,479 billion) in 2023.
Mobile services will continue to dominate the industry in terms of spending, with mobile data still expanding, driven by the booming smartphone markets. At the same time, growth in mobile voice is slowly declining, due to fierce competition and market maturity. The mobile segment, which represented 53.1% of the total market in 2018, is set to post a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.4% over the 2019-2023 period, driven by the growth in mobile data usage and the Internet of Things (IoT), which are offsetting declines in spending on mobile voice and messaging services.
Fixed data, especially broadband internet access, is still expanding in most geographies, supported by the increasing importance of content services for consumers and IP-based services for businesses. Fixed data service spending represented 20.5% of the total market in 2018, with an expected CAGR of 2.6% through 2023, driven by the need for higher-bandwidth services. Spending on fixed voice services will record a negative CAGR of 5.3% over the forecast period and will represent only 8.5% of the total market through 2023. Rapidly declining TDM voice revenues are not being offset by the increase in IP voice.
The pay TV market, which consists of cable, satellite, IP, and digital terrestrial TV services will remain flat over the forecast period; however, these services are an increasingly important part of the multi-play offerings of telecom providers across the world. Spending on multi-play services increased by 7.1% in 2018 and is expected to post a CAGR of 3.7% by the end of 2023.
On a geographical basis, the Americas was the largest services market, with revenues of $616 billion in 2018, driven by the large North American sector. Asia Pacific was the second largest region, followed by Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). The market with the fastest year-on-year growth in 2018 was EMEA (mainly by the emerging markets), followed by Asia Pacific.
However, IDC says that this stability that currently marks the telecom services market will not last for long, with 5G being a huge disruptive force.
Kresimir Alic, research director, Worldwide Telecom Services, said: “5G will unlock new and existing opportunities for most operators as early use cases such as enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless access will be gaining traction rapidly in most geographies, while massive machine-type communications and ultra-reliable low-latency communications will debut in more developed countries.
“Additionally, the worldwide transition to all-IP and new-generation access (NGA) broadband will help offset the fixed and mobile voice decline. We are witnessing a global digital transformation revolution and carrier service providers (CSPs) will play a crucial role in it by innovating and educating and by supporting the massive roll-out of software and services.”