TIS market returns to positive growth as key operators accelerate and broaden 5G build-out plans

TIS market returns to growth …

According to Technology Business Research, Inc.’s (TBR) Telecom Infrastructure Services Global Market Forecast 2018-2023, the telecom infrastructure services (TIS) market has returned to a positive growth trajectory through the forecast period after several years of declines, now that the 5G cycle is underway and webscales continue to increase their spend on network technologies to drive their strategic initiatives. Leading operators globally have accelerated their 5G timelines by up to two years, and this has correspondingly pulled forward the TIS market growth curve by two years. 2018 was a key year where leading operators invested to prepare their networks for 5G and, in some cases, began deploying 5G technology. This trend will play out over at least the next five years as operators build out their 5G networks and continue their transformational journeys toward becoming digital service providers.

… but growth rate suppressed by offsetting factors

Offsetting factors that will constrain the rate of TIS market growth include the shift to more efficient network architectures (NFV/SDN and cloud); the decommissioning of legacy infrastructure; the increasing use of network resource pooling, such as network sharing; and operator consolidation.

Graph showing TIS market forecast and growth 2018-2023

Professional services will be the fastest-growing services segment through the forecast period

Increasing technology and business model complexity will drive demand for a broad range of professional services through the forecast period. Leading operators will continue their journeys toward evolving into digital service providers, and this will require the full spectrum of professional services, from consulting to systems integration. Operators will increasingly rely on the vendor community for assistance, requiring expertise, staff augmentation and access to intellectual property, or a combination off all three, as they pursue digital transformation.

TBR’s Telecom Infrastructure Services Global Market Forecast provides annual analysis and forecasting of the deployment, maintenance, professional services and managed services markets for network and IT suppliers.

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.

5G-readiness spend and migration to new network architectures spur the TIS market to growth in 3Q18

According to Technology Business Research, Inc.’s (TBR) 3Q18 Telecom Infrastructure Services (TIS) Benchmark, the TIS market grew as communication service provider (CSP) investment in areas tied to 5G-readiness increased. CSPs are rearchitecting their networks leveraging NFV, SDN and the cloud as well as implementing new business models, which requires growing spend across a broad range of professional services. Deployment services spend grew slightly, but the market will strengthen as the 5G spend cycle ramps up over the next couple of years, although the spend intensity will be lower than during the LTE cycle. RAN suppliers Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE and Samsung will capture incremental TIS market share as they drive high volumes of services attached to their 5G RAN. This is already occurring to some extent as CSPs densify networks as part of their 5G-readiness strategies. Though 5G will require significant hardware spend, the aggregate amount will be lower compared to LTE, which will drive vendors to explore new market areas, such as Industry 4.0.

The managed services market was flat year-to-year in 3Q18 as a decline in outsourcing was offset by growth in the out-tasking market. Generally, vendors are exercising pricing discipline when determining which outsourcing contracts to take on in an effort to improve margins. Ericsson is currently leading the way in this regard as it evaluates 42 contracts for exit or rescoping. Huawei, ZTE and CCS have been less concerned with price and are focused on consolidating the outsourcing market. Other vendors, including those that are historically hardware-centric with little to no footprint in the managed services market, are increasingly playing in out-tasking as they will manage applications deployed in CSP networks. Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) is an example of this trend.



TBR’s Telecom Infrastructure Services Benchmark provides quarterly analysis of the deployment, maintenance, professional services and managed services markets for network and IT suppliers. Suppliers covered include Accenture (NYSE: ACN), Amdocs, Atos, Capgemini, CGI, China Communications Services, Ciena, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), CommScope, CSG International, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE), Huawei, IBM (NYSE: IBM), Infosys (NYSE: INFY), Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), NEC, Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), Samsung, SAP (NYSE: SAP), Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, Wipro (NYSE: WIT) and ZTE.