5G-readiness spend and webscale investment drove strong growth in deployment and professional services

5G spend was pulled forward in key markets, supporting deployment and professional services markets

According to Technology Business Research, Inc.’s (TBR) 4Q18 Telecom Infrastructure Services Benchmark, operators in lead markets (U.S., China, Japan and South Korea) as well as a growing list of key operators in other developed markets have accelerated their 5G deployment timetables over the past year, primarily because 5G is a significantly more cost-effective solution to handle rising data traffic in their traditional connectivity businesses but also to remain competitive in their respective markets.

Vendor telecom infrastructure services (TIS) revenue benefited in 2H18 as operators pulled forward their 5G-related investment timelines, with increased spend on deployment and professional services to support 5G-readiness initiatives. The deployment services market is rebounding as operators densify their networks with small cells, bring new macro sites online and deploy fiber for backhaul in anticipation of 5G, particularly in the U.S. 5G is also a growth driver in the professional services market as operators leverage consulting services to develop implementation and business plans and vendors perform network infrastructure integration for the mass deployments of deep fiber, small cells and antennas that 5G requires. These trends supported revenue growth for Nokia, Huawei and Samsung and enabled Ericsson to mitigate the effects of restructuring in its Managed Services and Digital Services businesses.

Graph showing the ten largest TIS suppliers' 4Q18 revenue

Exposure to software-related services and webscales drives growth for select vendors, including Accenture and Ciena

Accenture and Ciena, among others, have strong traction in telecom operator and webscale customer segments. Among webscales, Accenture is providing outsourcing to manage back offices and integrating software. Accenture is also providing business, security and technical consulting to webscales.

Ciena capitalizes on growing demand for next-generation optical from communications service providers (CSPs) and webscales through its focus on optical R&D, which helps the company take share from more diversified vendors. Ciena also gains incremental software-related TIS revenue from its Blue Planet MANO (management and orchestration) and OSS offerings.

TBR’s Telecom Infrastructure Services Benchmark provides quarterly analysis of the deployment, maintenance, professional services and managed services markets for network and IT suppliers.

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