With 5G and fibre capital investment top of mind for the global telco sector, the world’s top 100 telcos have had to shell out plenty of cash over the past 12 months.

This year’s instalment of the Global 100 shows that those telcos who are able to keep up with the insatiable investment demands, will be laying the groundwork for future success. As consumers begin to demand ubiquitous, gigabit connectivity,
opportunities will abound for those telcos who are able to bundle content with traditional data services. Fibre and 5G will be the keys to unlocking this opportunity.

While US firms continued to dominate the upper echelons of the Global 100, European operators also increased their net worth. The industry saw a swathe of mergers, acquisitions and divestments over the past year, some of which have dragged on in to the current financial year. Vodafone’s decision to merge its Indian business with Idea Cellular created India’s biggest telco overnight – a position it has since relinquished to Reliance Jio.

In Europe, Vodafone acquired a string of European assets from Liberty Global that should see it consolidate its position as the continent’s king of convergence. In the US, T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint will create a genuine challenger to AT&T and Verizon, as the US cracks on with its 5G rollout campaigns.

The latest issue of the Global 100 proves the old adage: it takes money to make money. Before telcos can think about cashing in on 5G mobile and FTTH fixed line services, they must first come to terms with the gargantuan capital investment that these technologies demand.