Telecom’s biggest vendors: 2Q19 edition

Telecom’s biggest vendors: 2Q19 edition
Telco spending climate weakens again as "Telco NI" vendor revenues fall 1.2% YoY; supply chain shifts underway but Huawei's 22.1% annualized share still leads market, followed by Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco, and ZTE
By Matt Walker

The goal of this report series is to equip telecom industry decision-makers with a comprehensive view of spending trends and vendor market power in their industry. To do this we assess technology vendors’ revenues in the telecom vertical, across a wide range of company types and technology segments.


This report is focused on technology spending by telecommunications network operators (TNOs, or telcos).

Technology vendors record approximately $200B per year in sales of telecom network infrastructure (“Telco NI”) to this industry segment. Telco NI spending supports a supply chain of dozens of vendors across the globe. In this edition, we cover 113 vendors selling directly to telcos some mix of hardware, software, and services.

Abstract – 2Q19

Market growth trending downwards, Huawei still dominates

Annualized network infrastructure sales to telcos (“Telco NI”) for the four quarters ended 2Q19 totaled $201.1B, slightly down from $201.7B in the previous quarter. That’s due to a fall in YoY growth rates. In 2Q19, single quarter NI revenues across vendor segments were $50.2B, down -1.2% YoY, after falling at a more modest rate of -0.6% YoY in 1Q19. Market revenues were pulled down by a slow ramp-up in 5G revenues, recession worries, a relatively weak China market, and uncertainties surrounding the future of market share leader Huawei.

In the 2Q19 annualized period, the top 5 vendors accounted for 55% of market share in NI: Huawei, Ericsson Nokia, Cisco, and ZTE. Despite its recent troubles, Huawei’s share remains over 22%, nearly as much as the sum of Ericsson and Nokia. Samsung’s share growth was the largest again in 2Q19, due to 5G’s emergence in its core market. As 2019 has progressed, Huawei’s political and supply chain problems have worsened. The Chinese vendor is facing some serious legal challenges affecting its future prospects – it’s not just a result of Trump’s trade battles. In the short term we expect lots of M&A and new JV activity aimed at helping cope with (or even better, profit from) this changing reality.

Vendor views on 2H19 are muted

In earnings calls, 5G was the highlight but few agree on when and how it will benefit their specific operations. Samsung has already gotten a 5G kick, primarily from its home market. Other mobile RAN suppliers focus on the number of contracts and/or “commercial engagements” entered into with telcos. Ericsson has been a bit more aggressive than others in going after early 5G business, possibly to the detriment of margins. Nokia expects a good 4Q19 but in the meantime is revamping efforts to attack non-telco opportunities. Cisco continues to struggle in the telco market and sees 5G as a long-term opportunity but weak capex in its strongest markets – and political challenges in China – both pose problems. ZTE has recovered nicely from a weak 2018 but its main upside remains in China, where capex will be under pressure from new network-sharing arrangements.

IT services providers, one of three vendor types we track, are generally positive on outlook as they see opportunities from a telco shift to more software & services (e.g. digital transformation) spending, but growth rates are modest. The cabling & connectivity vendor segment (CCV) is strong now. However, fiber cable spending tends to go in cycles and is impacted heavily by government regulations. Corning continues to do well due in part to a wide base of customers and ongoing M&A activity. Vendors focused on the data center and/or implementing SDN/NFV based architectures and open networking are generally positive but remain reliant on telco capex growth, which has been weak.

Ciena may have the strongest outlook of all, as it is positioned in a sweet spot for market growth and has a good track record of acquisitions – which will be increasingly important as some vendors struggle amidst weak capex and supply chain shifts. The China-US trade battles have not only hurt Huawei, they also have hit western NEPs’ ability to access the China market easily for manufacturing, R&D, component supply, and sales to Chinese telcos.

Let the Huawei chaos begin

Those waiting for a grand resolution to US-China disputes surrounding Huawei will be disappointed – the company’s problems did not arise with Trump and his trade war. Concerns about Huawei’s private company origins and independence from the Chinese state are fairly bipartisan in the US, and shared by a number of European governments.

Yet Huawei certainly isn’t going anywhere; it has the broadest portfolio of products in the industry, and its 22% market share in Telco NI is just a bit lower than the sum of Ericsson and Nokia and Ericsson combined. Since its CFO’s arrest, the vendor has hardly backed away from its ambitions – and the Chinese government has made clear its support for Huawei’s long term growth.

New vendor opportunities emerging

As 5G becomes a reality and Huawei still has issues, vendors elsewhere in Asia are looking to exploit uncertainty. That doesn’t just mean other RAN suppliers; it involves fiber, transmission, router/switch, and other product areas, and software/IT services. It also involves many countries: India, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan all host competitive players in the telecom network infrastructure space. None approach the scope of even a mini-Huawei but telcos are more willing to buy a la carte nowadays.

India is interesting because its latest Telecom Policy (2018) explicitly called for the development of its telecom equipment sector. Well before the Huawei crisis, India’s Telecom Secretary, Aruna Sundararajan, argued that India should embrace 5G aggressively, not just for services but to help develop India’s export sector. India is a big enough market that the big global RAN vendors are making local investments in R&D and manufacturing, and partnering locally. Ultimately this could expand prospects (and product lines) for companies in other segments like Sterlite and Tejas. It could also help open networking specialist Radisys, now owned by India’s largest telco Jio.

India becomes more interesting in terms of network infrastructure when you consider Taiwan. Its local tech trade association, TAITRA, is pushing hard on India for both export and partnership opportunities. India’s traditional strength (workforce-wise) has been in software (e.g. Wipro, Tech Mahindra), while Taiwan is strong in electronics manufacturing, chips, displays, and sensors. There are some partnership opportunities that look attractive on paper. Already Taiwan’s Foxconn is moving some iPhone production to India, for instance. But politics are a factor in the India-Taiwan avenue. And if politics is what motivates a deal, then a new political environment could make the deal unstable, so things are likely to go slowly here.

Full-year spending outlook

We expect the telco NI spending climate in 2019 to remain challenged. There is upside from increased 5G spending, but recession warnings are growing. Recessions tend to his telco revenues hard. A slowdown in telco revenues would result in both additional layoffs and a slower growth rate in 5G spending. Huawei’s latest troubles will also slow down the procurement process for many telcos as they reevaluate priorities and assess risks. Currently many European and some Asian operators are re-considering the degree to which they’ve tied their network fortunes to a single vendor.

Table of Contents

  • ABSTRACT – Results commentary
  • OVERVIEW – Report objective, scope and vendor list
  • TELCO NI – Totals through 2Q19
  • TELCO NI – Segment results through 2Q19
  • TOP 20 VENDORS – Printable tearsheets
  • CHARTS – Single vendor snapshot
  • CHARTS – 5 vendor comparisons
  • ABOUT – MTN Consulting and report methodology

Figures & Charts

Partial list:

  • Vendor sales to telcos by company type ($B)
  • Vendor revenues by HQ country (2018)
  • Top 5 vendors account for over 55% of Telco NI (2Q19 annualized, $B)
  • Telco vertical as % of total revenues since 2013
  • Telcos as % of revenues for top 5 vendors in each segment (2Q19)
  • Telco capex and vendor NI sales to telcos, annualized ($B)
  • Telco NI vendor revenues as % of TNO capex/opex
  • Annualized sales to telcos by vendor type (US$M)Last six quarters of YoY % sales growth, by vendor type
  • Top vendors based on annualized sales to telcos through 2Q19 ($B)
  • Top vendors based on 2Q19 sales to telcos ($B)
  • Telco NI Revs ($B, annualized)
  • Telco NI as % of corporate revenues
  • Annualized share: 2Q19 vs. 2Q18
  • Telco NI Revs (2Q19)
  • Telco NI YoY Sales Growth – 2Q19
  • For the top 20 vendors in Telco NI: How did each perform in 2Q19? What is the outlook for the rest of 2019?


Company Segment
A10 Networks NEP
Accenture plc ITSP
Accton Technology NEP
ADVA Optical Networking NEP
Alcatel-Lucent NEP
Allied Telesis NEP
Allot Communications ITSP
Amdocs ITSP
Anritsu CCV
Arista Networks NEP
ARRIS International NEP
Atos Origin ITSP
Avaya NEP
Aviat Networks NEP
Beijing Xinwei NEP
Broadcom Limited NEP
BroadSoft, Inc. ITSP
Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. NEP
CA Technologies ITSP
Calix NEP
Capgemini ITSP
Casa Systems NEP
Ceragon Networks NEP
Check Point Software ITSP
Ciena Corporation NEP
Cisco Systems NEP
Citrix Systems ITSP
Clearfield CCV
Comba Telecom NEP
CommScope Holding CCV
Commvault Systems ITSP
Comptel ITSP
Comtech Telecommunications Corp. NEP
Convergys ITSP
Coriant NEP
Corning CCV
Cyan NEP

Contact us for a complete list.


Related reports

TNO Playbook: AT&T

By Subramanian Venkatraman On June 18, 2019 This report is the first in MTN Consulting’s TNO Playbook series. This report was prepared as part of MTN Consulting’s Global Network Infrastructure tracker. Our GNI tracker covers three... read more

Building the cloud: Webscale network supply chain analyzer

By Matt Walker and Arun Menon On June 3, 2019 The world's largest technology companies are investing heavily in webscale networks. These are centered around enormous webscale, also known as "hyperscale" data centers, and the web of infr... read more