TIS margins declined in 2017 as vendors invested in service delivery evolution, including automation, tools and training

HAMPTON, N.H. — According to Technology Business Research Inc.’s (TBR) 2017 Telecom Infrastructure Services (TIS) Margin Benchmark, Tier 1 telecom vendor average TIS margins declined year-to-year in 2017 due mainly to restructuring at Ericsson, though growing investment in R&D, particularly for professional services, also had an impact.

“Vendors invested in service delivery evolution to stay ahead of adverse TIS market trends, such as legacy decommissioning and growing SI complexity,” said TBR Telecom Senior Analyst Michael Soper. “Professional services in particular is a focus area for vendors as they invest in tools and training to cope with increasing network complexity.”

Ericsson’s restructuring impacted all facets of its services business, driving margins down across the board. The company’s contract exit and rescoping activity hurt margins in 2017, but will enable Ericsson to emerge on better footing by the end of restructuring in 2019.

Except for Ericsson, vendors grew their maintenance margins, offsetting the impact of legacy infrastructure decommissioning with an influx of support revenue for recently deployed gear in China. Vendors are investing in automation in this space to sustain high margins where the full impact of legacy decommissioning and software-mediated networking are felt.

TBR’s 2017 Telecom Infrastructure Services Margin Benchmark provides annual analysis of deployment services, maintenance services, professional services and managed services margins for Tier 1 telecom suppliers. Suppliers covered include Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia and ZTE.

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