Markets and Trends

IDC MarketScape Evaluates Worldwide Communications Service Provider Digital Infrastructure and Services

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IDC recently published a new document that offers a holistic assessment of how Communications SPs are evolving their communications infrastructure and operations through digital transformation to become more agile at offering advanced digital and managed services to business customers. The IDC MarketScape on Worldwide Communications Service Provider Digital Infrastructure and Services evaluated 12 global Communications SPs.

Communications SPs face common challenges, including service commoditization, fierce competition, and a lack of flexibility to innovate rapidly to meet shifting market needs. To capitalize on new opportunities, Communications SPs across the globe are accelerating their focus on digital transformation across communication networks, IT, and business operations to become more agile digital service providers and transition from telco to techco. This transformation is inevitable to stay relevant and support the needs of organizations as they face the full impact of digital business evolution.

Key Trends Representative of the Digital Business Evolution
The shifting digital business landscape and the requirement to be judicious about capital investments is leading more enterprises to depend on IT partners for best-in-class technology, and managed service options, that help them to manage their internal skills gaps. Some important trends that are driving digital business services transition include:

  • Cloud-centric digital application strategies that provide compelling business and technology benefits have accelerated the implementation of digital platforms. As organizations move applications to the cloud, the right mix of secure and flexible network services becomes essential to underpin their digital business strategy.
  • Managed services become a more attractive option for organizations, as cloud-centric digital strategies expand, to help simplify complex tasks through optimized network-as-a-service experience that can be tailored to its specific business and to help companies manage their lack of internal expertise.
  • Composable services that offer flexible pricing models by applying a consumption methodology to simplify the buying process, create cost-effective service bundles, and can help organizations reduce the cost of managed services and connectivity over the long term.
  • The evolving threat landscape continues to drive demand for managed/cloud-based delivery models for integrated security management to address cost, complexity, and the lack of internal security staff. It is increasingly convenient for organizations to acquire integrated security features and tools as part of managed services, that can also address data sovereignty concerns.
  • The intelligence of the digital infrastructure to ensure a differentiated experience is accelerating the use of AI and Gen AI models with advanced analytics to turn large amounts of data into valuable business insights, benefits, and outcomes.
  • Comprehensive API capabilities to better expose the full value of the network, service, and partner assets to help drive automation under an open environment that can integrate with a broad range of proprietary and legacy solutions.
  • ESG requirements are moving higher in priority for organizations, in some cases, closely tracking behind profit and revenue. Sustainability is becoming an important factor in driving organizations’ managed service investment requirements that can offer energy-efficient as-a-service models.
  • Strategic service provider partnerships have become paramount to help organizations embark upon new journeys that will improve operational efficiency, business resiliency, and customer experience with their digital infrastructure and services transformation, beyond just connectedness.

2023 IDC MarketScape for Digital Infrastructure and Services Evaluates 12 Communications SPs

The 2023 IDC MarketScape for Worldwide Communications Service Provider Digital Infrastructure and Services evaluates 12 Communications SPs across 20 scoring criteria categories, including 10 each of strategy and capabilities. Communications SPs had to meet a minimum threshold of annual revenue and network portfolio that offers a range of managed services including managed WAN, managed cloud, managed security, managed Internet of Things (IoT), multi-access edge computing (MEC), and other network services targeting business customers. The analysis also evaluated the underlying intelligence of their digital infrastructure such as network virtual/cloud-native functions, NaaS platform, API integration, and AI capabilities.

This research includes the analysis of twelve communications service providers including AT&T, BT, Comcast, e&Enterprise, Lumen, NTT, Orange, Reliance-Jio, Telefonica, Telstra, Verizon, and Vodafone, who are positioned in the leaders and major players categories. The analysis identified that all 12 of the Communications SPs have a strong digital transformation plan, but some are more progressed than others for now.

The ample landscape of service providers offering digital infrastructure and managed services means organizations can face increasingly complex choices in service provider selection for their agile digital infrastructure modernization needs. The 2023 IDC MarketScape for worldwide communications service provider digital infrastructure and services is meant to be a guide for helping organizations evaluate Communications SPs to become their strategic partner in this important digital business evolution.

We also recommend you take advantage of these recent resources from our tech market experts:

2023 Telecommunications Service Provider Transformation Plans and Strategies Survey Highlights

Cloud Service Providers’ Publicly Announced Contracts with Communications Service Providers: Full-Year 2022

Who Do Telecom Service Providers See as the Best Partner to Help with Their Digital Transformation?

Peter Chahal is a Research Director at IDC's Network and Telecommunications research practice covering telecommunication services and strategies. Some of the key areas of his research includes mobile broadband services, 5G monetization, SD-WAN, wireline broadband services, and other emerging telecom digital services.