skip to main content
Close Icon We use cookies to improve your website experience.  To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy.  By continuing to use the website, you consent to our use of cookies.
Global Search Configuration


Communications provider capex will total over $2.1 trillion from 2017-21. In 2015, CSPs (telcos) accounted for 83% of total industry capex, but that will fall to 73% by 2021 as ICPs grow share and industry influence.


  • CSPs remain the core of the communications market, but will grow slower than the ICP and CNP market segments. As a result, they will account for 58% of total CP revenues in 2021, from 63% in 2015.
  • Total CP capital expenditures (capex) will grow from $411bn in 2015 to $418bn in 2016. However, both CSP capex segments are set to decline in 2017, with mobile falling 9% to $175bn. It will take several years for mobile capex to recover, as networks digest LTE and 5G arrives slowly and is based mainly on software upgrades. The ICP segment is delivering the real growth.
  • The average capex/revenues ratio (capital intensity) for all communications providers has peaked around 14.5% in 2015-16, and will soon fall. Capital intensity for the growing ICP segment, though, will continue to grow from the 6.6% level in 2016 to about 8.5% in 2021.

Features and Benefits

  • Analyzes where capex and revenues are growing, by region, country, and segment.
  • Presents a full forecast for four industry segments: fixed CSPs, mobile CSPs, ICPs, and CNPs.
  • Assesses importance of new markets relative to the CSP (telco) market.

Key questions answered

  • Where are the best opportunities for vendors selling network infrastructure, software, and professional services to communications providers? How do growth prospects differ by market segment?
  • What are the regional differences in revenue and capex growth rates and capital intensities? Are regions converging over time?
  • How fast are fixed revenues eroding? Is the rate of mobile revenue growth slowing down? How does the change in growth vary by region?

Table of contents


  • Introduction
  • Download 1: Communications Provider Revenues & Capex Forecast: 2016–21

Have any questions? Speak to a Specialist

Europe, Middle East & Africa team: +44 7771 980316

Asia-Pacific team: +61 (0)3 960 16700

US team: +1 212-652-5335

Email us at

You can also contact your named/allocated Client Services Executive using their direct dial.
PR enquiries - Email us at

Contact marketing -

Already an Ovum client? Login to the Knowledge Center now