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Capex report compares telco, hyperscale spending habits

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A new report has detailed the "sharp contrast in spending patterns" that exists between hyperscalers, telcos and enterprises.

Billed as "the three main industry sectors" by research authors Synergy Research Group, their insight showed that telco capex levels in the first half were once again flat while hyperscale operator capex shot up "by another 30%".

Commenting on the figures, chief analyst John Dinsdale said: “Telcos remain locked in a low-to-no growth world and their capex reflects that. While there were big hopes for 5G, it has proven to be a case of changing the mix of investments within relatively fixed budgets, rather than substantially growing overall telco spend. That picture is unlikely to change too much over the next few years."

In H1, total capital expenditure reached US$307 billion, up 9% on 2020 and averaging 6% annual growth since 2016.

for telcos and hyperscale operators, their spending is mostly focused on networking and data centre hardware and software, while for enterprises it covers spending on IT infrastructure, which is primarily data centres, networking and collaboration tools. It excludes enterprise spending on communication and IT services, devices and business software.

Hyperscale data covers the 19 companies that meet Synergy’s criteria to be a considered hyperscaler, with no surprises in the line-up of biggest spenders in H1. They were: Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Alibaba and ByteDance.

The telco category included both fixed and mobile operations, with the biggest spenders in the first half being China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT, Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone and Orange. 

Dinsdale continued: "Hyperscale operator revenues are currently growing by over 30% per year, which has required them to grow their spending at a somewhat similar rate. Those growth rates will moderate a bit over the coming years but will be viewed jealously by the telco world. The enterprise picture is more complex with cloud, big data and increasingly sophisticated collaboration requirements driving a multitude of changes in their IT operations, but on balance we should continue to see modest growth in their infrastructure spending.”

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