Telecom operators felt the effects from COVID-19 in 1Q20; the impact on telecom vendors will be more pronounced in 2Q20

Telecom market impact

COVID-19 impacted the telecom industry during 1Q20 on different levels, with telecom operators feeling the initial effects during the quarter. TBR believes telecom vendors were initially shielded from the early effects, but we anticipate a deeper negative impact on both operators and vendors in 2Q20 as the pandemic plays out.

Though company results and the broader ICT market are expected to be challenged further in the short term (over the next year) due to the crisis, TBR believes the near term (two to three years) and long term (three to five years) will be net positive on the ICT industry as the post-COVID era drives enterprises and governments around the world to double down on digitalization and invest in a broad range of technologies to evolve their businesses and increase safety in the new world.

Telecom edge compute

The COVID-19 virus will significantly impact the ICT infrastructure supply chain, and, more broadly, the global economy. This dynamic and evolving situation prompted TBR to revise its telecom edge compute market size in the recently published Telecom Edge Compute Market Landscape.

Though the virus will delay the ultimate build-out of the edge, the cumulative market size during the forecast period is expected to be larger and grow faster than originally anticipated once the dust settles from the virus.

TBR expects the virus to delay edge spend in 2020 and a portion of 2021. By mid-2021 TBR expects the supply chain to be fully operational again, at which time the industry will attempt to catch up to align with pent-up demand.

TBR expects governments and businesses around the world will reassess their disaster response and risk profiles to mitigate future risks to their societies and operations. This will drive investment in surveillance, drones, industrial automation, blockchain, AR/VR and other use cases that require edge resources to operate. As such, TBR increased the cumulative market size for edge infrastructure as it is expected that many governments, not just the U.S. and China, will justify these investments for national security and business resiliency purposes. It is expected that communication service providers (CSPs) will be key beneficiaries of this addressable market to support government and business initiatives in these areas.

Private cellular networks

Despite short-term issues, COVID-19 will ultimately be a net positive driver of the private cellular networks market over the near to long term.

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