01 Oct 2020

IDC Says EMEA Market for Telecom Services Performed Better than Expected in H1 2020, Despite COVID-19 Impact

Prague, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —Spending on telecommunications and pay TV services in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) will reach $469 billion in 2020, representing a decrease of 2.1% year on year, according to the Worldwide Semiannual Telecom Services Tracker published by International Data Corporation (IDC). IDC does not expect the EMEA telecom services market to return to pre-COVID-19 spending levels before 2024.

Telcos' reports for the first half of 2020 confirmed IDC's expectations: the telecommunications services market, due to its critical role in both business operations and individuals’ lives, is one of the most resilient economic sectors. Across the EMEA region, following to the initial lockdown, governments are committed to protecting both businesses and consumers against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While most countries prepare for what is likely to be a second wave, telcos were slightly more pessimistic about the second half of 2020. Accordingly, in the September update of the Worldwide Semiannual Telecom Services Tracker, IDC adjusted its previous forecast for the EMEA telecom services market value in 2020 — down by 1.1 percentage points.

Nevertheless, social distancing and other restrictive measures are likely to accelerate growth in the digitization and digital transformation across industry sectors, especially in the public sector. Governments were forced to speed up the digitalization of public services, while businesses had to invest into creating or expanding ecommerce solutions, all of which represents new opportunities for telecom operators.

The aforementioned negative trend is expected to affect all EMEA regions in 2020. In Western Europe (WE) and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the largest and the smallest EMEA markets, respectively, will both decrease by 1.9%, while MEA will decrease by 2.5%. The EMEA region was one of the hardest hit globally by the crisis in the first half of 2020, and the telecom market in this region is expected to recover more slowly than other regions, due to the anticipated second pandemic wave and the long-lasting effects of the economic disruption.

EMEA Regional Services Revenue and Year-on-Year Growth (revenues in $B)

EMEA Region

2019 Revenue

2020 Revenue















Grand Total




Source: IDC Worldwide Semiannual Services Tracker, H2 2019 – Interim Update

"While the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 crisis is already producing visible effects on the most exposed sectors of EMEA economies, the telecommunications markets will remain in good shape, contracting far less than most countries' overall GDPs," says Kresimir Alic, research director with IDC's Worldwide Telecom Services. "The digital era increasingly requires investments in efficient communications systems and the efficient use of existing resources. Operators will continue to invest in 5G networks, IoT, network-related software, and machine learning, albeit at a slower pace due to cost-cutting strategies necessitated by the pandemic.”

About IDC Trackers

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools.

For more information about IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Telecom Services Tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or knagamine@idc.com.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn.