© iStock.com/NicoElNino

Key Points:

  • The telecom sector continues to be at the epicenter of growth, innovation, and disruption for virtually every industry.
  • Deutsche Telekom AG is a German telecommunications company which has subsidiaries worldwide, including T-Mobile, and owns significant stakes in many other top European telecom companies, including Magyar Telekom (Hungary), Slovak Telekom (Slovakia), and Hellenic telecommunications operator OTE.
  • Verizon is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. It is an American multinational corporation headquartered in New York City that provides landline, wireless and broadband communication products and services in 150 countries and territories.
  • Softbank Telecom is a Japanese telecommunications company that was founded in 1981. The company operates in Japan, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, India, Indonesia, China, and the United States.

The telecom industry, sometimes referred to as telecommunications or telecoms, comprises the companies responsible for delivering audio, video, and data over the public switched telephone network and the internet.

The telecom sector continues to be at the epicenter of growth, innovation, and disruption for virtually every industry. Mobile devices and related broadband connectivity continue to be increasingly embedded in the fabric of society today, and they are key in driving momentum around key trends such as video streaming, the Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile payments.

So, with that in mind, here’s a look at the ten largest telecom companies in the world and what they do!

#10: Telefonica

Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, Telefonica is the tenth largest telecommunications company in the world. The company provides mobile and fixed-line voice and data services in Spain and other countries, including the UK, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico. Telefonica has over 330 million customers and employs 120,000 people.

The company offers mobile and fixed voice services, broadband and pay TV products and services, data communications, cloud computing, and other digital solutions.

Telefonica’s stock is traded on various exchanges, including the NYSE and the Madrid Stock Exchange. Telefonica’s current market capitalisation is $51 billion. It is best known for its commercial brands, such as Movistar, O2, and Vivo, which offer mobile, landline, internet, and television telecommunication services in numerous countries.

Telefonica has been the winner of the My World Communications Award by the United Nations. The selection committee singled out the organization’s dedication to spreading awareness of the My World in Spain program. In addition, it was recognized as a “great place to work” by an independent organization.

Telefonica has just signed an agreement with Microsoft Azure to collaborate on integration to help its customers more simply, securely, and dependably connect their Internet of Things (IoT) devices to Azure IoT Hub.

Telefonica and Huawei are working together to help businesses benefit from big data and speed up the transition to digital in the small and medium-sized enterprise sector.

Telefonica
Telefónica is headquartered in Madrid, Spain, and provides mobile, voice, and data services all over Europe and the UK.

©iStock.com/JJFarquitectos

#9: Orange

The international telecoms corporation Orange has its headquarters in France. Orange is a major European provider, catering to consumers and small, medium, and big enterprises.

Among the many offerings of this business are landline telephones, leased lines, data transmission, mobile phone service, broadband internet access, cable television, and radio and television broadcasting. Additionally, it provides services related to mobile banking.

Additionally, Orange produces over 70% of its annual revenues in Europe, where it is one of the top 4G and fiber optic service providers. Over 120 million customers provide Orange with a substantial footprint in the Middle East and Africa. It has 256 million clients all across the globe.

Orange telecommunications company corporate HQ
Orange provides telecommunications services all over Europe from its HQ in France.

©iStock.com/Jean-Luc Ichard

#7: China Telecom

China Telecom is a state-owned Chinese telecommunications firm headquartered in Beijing. It is China’s largest landline provider and third largest mobile network operator.

In total, China Telecom serves 194 million fixed-line subscribers, 215 million mobile customers, and 113 million broadband customers across China, making it one of the world’s largest telecom companies.

China Telecom is a state-owned corporation that provides communications services to government entities and private enterprises. It operates various networks, including mobile, fixed-line, internet protocol television (IPTV), data transmission, public security network, and others.

#6 Softbank Telecom

Softbank Telecom is a Japanese telecommunications company that was founded in 1981. The company operates in Japan, Hong Kong, and the United States.

It is one of Japan’s largest mobile phone service providers with more than 40 million users. The company also operates a cable television business and sells fiber-optic internet access. Softbank is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of $66.36 billion as of August 2022.

The company’s founder, Masayoshi Son, is considered one of the most influential entrepreneurs in Japan today. He founded Softbank Corporation in 1981 and currently serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Softbank was originally known for its role in providing telephone services to Japanese consumers; however, it has expanded into other areas such as cable television and internet access over time. It now owns and operates networks in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, India, Indonesia, China, and the United States.

Softbank Telecoms
Softbank is headquartered in Japan and serves Japan, Hong Kong, and the U.S.

©iStock.com/tang90246

#5: Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT)

Headquartered in Tokyo, NTT is a leading telecommunications company in Japan and one of the largest in the world.

It offers a wide range of services, including fixed-line and mobile phone services, internet, data communications, and other multimedia services. NTT has over 200 million customers and employs over 300,000 people. It was founded in 1952 and is now a publicly traded company with over $96.8 billion in market capitalization.

NTT is divided into five segments, two of which are publicly traded on stock exchanges: NTT DoCoMo and NTT Data. NTT is a top telecom company in the world, with stock exchange listings in Tokyo, Osaka, New York, and London. According to “Towards the Next Stage,” NTT Group has reorganized its business operations. It’s a plan for managing the company over the next few years, first revealed to the public in 2012. It plans to keep up with the strategy and improve it so that it can become a “Value Partner” that customers will keep choosing.

NTT Group’s mission is to help address societal problems through digital transformation and positively impact its business activities when rapid change and transformation are required across all economic and social sectors.

#4: Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom AG is a German telecommunications company operating in over 50 countries. It was founded in 1995 and is currently headquartered in Bonn, Germany. The company offers mobile and fixed-line telephony, broadband internet access, television, and data transmission services.

The company has subsidiaries worldwide, including T-Mobile, and owns significant stakes in many other top European telecom companies, including Magyar Telekom (Hungary), Slovak Telekom (Slovakia), and Hellenic telecommunications operator OTE. Deutsche Telekom now has over 205 million mobile, broadband, and other network subscribers.

The company’s primary focus is on providing digital communication services to businesses, government agencies, households, and consumers.

Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is based in Germany and operates in 50 countries.

©iStock.com/ricochet64

#3: China Mobile

China Mobile is a state-owned company that offers voice, text, and data services. China Mobile also has a mobile money service called Chips which allows users to transfer money and make payments using their mobile phones. In addition to mobile services, China Mobile also offers fixed-line telephone and broadband services.

By market capitalization, the company is the largest mobile communications company.

It offers voice and multimedia services over its mobile network, which covers the whole country of Mai. China Mobile was made when China Telecom broke up in 1999. 70% of the company is owned by China Mobile (HK) Group Limited and 30% by public investors.

largest telecommunications companies
By market capitalization, China Mobile is the largest mobile communications company in the world.

©ZorroGabriel/Shutterstock.com

China Mobile is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX). It has a 97% market share in China and holds 70% of the market share there. It is the biggest player in China and the world, and it has a lot of customers in rural areas. With more than 3 million mobile base stations, 1.79 million of which are 4G base stations, and 12 million kilometers of transmission cables, the company is able to cover the whole world. It has nearly 1 billion customers all over the world.

China Mobile’s business model is highly dependent on its network infrastructure. It owns all of the towers in China and uses them to provide coverage throughout the country. The company also owns a large portion of the cell phone manufacturing industry, which provides it with much of its revenue stream.

#2: Verizon

Verizon is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. It is an American multinational corporation headquartered in New York City that provides landline, wireless and broadband communication products and services in 150 countries and territories.

Verizon was formed as Bell Atlantic in 1984, which originally operated as a holding company for the Baby Bells. The company offers a wide range of products and services, including wireless, wireline, internet, and satellite, to more than 120 million retail customers.

In recent years, the company has put most of its efforts into building digital and mobile infrastructures. It has also spent a lot of money on next-generation 5G wireless technologies and Internet of Things (IoT) opportunities that could be worth trillions of dollars. The company is also the title sponsor of a number of sports and performance venues and a sponsor of major sports leagues like the National Hockey League, National Football League, and Motorsports.

Verizon corporate HQ
Verizon is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world and operates in 150 countries worldwide.

©iStock.com/BackyardProduction

#1: AT&T

AT&T is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered at Whitacre Tower in downtown Dallas, Texas.

It is the world’s largest telecom company, the second largest provider of mobile telephone services, and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the United States through AT&T Communications. AT&T is also the largest pay-TV provider in the United States through DirecTV and the second largest after Comcast through AT&T U-verse.

AT&T Inc. was founded in 1983 as the original American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T).

The company provides wireless voice and data services, equipment sales, and data and video communications products and services such as broadband video, data center, cloud services, security and managed network services, and local and long-distance voice services.

They are a Fortune 100 company and have experienced quarterly dividend growth for 34 years.

AT&T corporate HQ building
AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the entire world, with its services offered all over the globe.

©iStock.com/Philip Rozenski

Up Next…

The 10 Largest Telecom Companies in the World, and What They Do FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the largest telecommunications company in the world?

With total revenue of US$168.86 billion (2021), AT&T is the world’s largest telecom company.

Which network is the best in the USA?

With 70% of the country covered by its 4G LTE network, Verizon has without a doubt the best coverage, followed by AT&T (68%), T-Mobile (62%), and Sprint (30%).

How big is the telecom industry?

The size of the global telecom services market was estimated at $1,657.7 billion USD in 2020, and it is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% from 2021 to 2028.

Who is bigger, T-Mobile or Verizon?

Although Verizon is a much larger business than T-Mobile (almost three times as big), T-Mobile’s revenue increased by 20% over the past four years compared to Verizon’s 4.7%. Moreover, T-Mobile currently commands a P/E multiple of 24.4x, which is more than twice as high as Verizon’s multiple of 12x.

What is the largest telecommunications company in Europe?

The German company Deutsche Telekom is the largest and most profitable telecommunication operator in Europe, generating almost 70 million euros in revenues in 2015. Deutsche Telekom is also one of the largest companies in the world, with a market value of approximately $83.3 billion USD.

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