Worldwide Spending on Telecom Services and Pay TV Services Grows Amid Inflation

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Telecom Services Tracker, global spending on telecom and pay TV services reached $1,478 billion in 2022, marking a 2.2% year-over-year increase. Worldwide spending in the sector to grow by 2.0% in 2023, reaching a total of $1,541 billion. This outlook is more optimistic than the November 2022 forecast, which has been adjusted upward by 0.3 percentage points due to higher projected growth.

Global Regional Services Revenue and Year-on-Year Growth (revenues in $B)
Global Region2021
Grand Total$1,478$1,5102.2%
Source: IDC Worldwide Semiannual Services Tracker – 2H 2022

Growth can be attributed to a global rise in telecommunication service tariffs as a result of inflation. These increases have been observed across all global regions, suggesting that inflation is affecting the entire world and prompting telecom operators to raise tariffs in response to profitability threats.

The latest forecast comes amid ongoing inflation concerns, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting that inflation will persist for at least the next three years. As a result, telecom operators are expected to continue raising tariffs, leading to higher costs for consumers and a more rapid nominal growth rate for the sector.

In terms of regional growth, Asia-Pacific saw the largest increase in the forecast, with a 0.7 percentage point upward revision, followed by the Americas at 0.3 percentage points and EMEA at 0.1 percentage points. Despite experiencing higher-than-average inflation, EMEA’s growth is relatively modest due to ongoing tensions in Ukraine and a slowdown in Western European economies.

However, the increased spending on telecom services is primarily nominal due to high inflation rates, with real growth rates lagging behind annual inflation rates. To counteract this, telecom operators are investing heavily in advanced technologies such as all-IP and new-generation access (NGA) broadband, which they hope will offset declines in fixed and mobile voice services. The deployment of 5G networks is also seen as a potential source of new opportunities, enabling massive machine-type communications and ultra-reliable low-latency communications.

Telecom companies are increasing digitalization efforts, creating data-driven go-to-market strategies and embracing innovative business models, while also exploring new revenue streams in areas such as IoT, data centers, cloud computing, AR/VR, IT services, and more. As a result, they are evolving from traditional service providers to full-stack technology suppliers, positioning themselves as leaders in the digital transformation revolution.