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Telecommunications industry

Research guide

Published: 12 Dec 2018 Updated: 16 Jan 2023 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, subscribers and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

2022 Telecommunications Industry Outlook
Industry outlook from Deloitte discussing the opportunities of 5G and other trends that could impact the telecom industry in 2022.

Market research

Market research reports focusing on this business sector are available from a number of market research specialists. In most cases these reports are available to fee-paying subscribers or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

A full listing of reference products and research reports for the consumer electronics industry from Euromonitor, with a range of global, country and company level reports. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Forrester Research
Wide variety of reports and research on the telecoms industry. Executive summaries are available.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors, including many topics within telecommunications. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports.

Market research provider specialising in international IT, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. Summaries of research reports are available.

A full listing of reports covering the telecommunications industry with the option to view the executive summary and a table of contents for each report.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK


Ofcom, the UK communications industry regulator, produces Communications Market Reports, made up of annual statistical surveys and quarterly updates on national, regional and international markets.

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment – average during the year;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Wholesale of electronic and telecommunications equipment and parts (46.52)
    See Division 46: Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • Retail sale of telecommunications equipment in specialised stores (47.42)
    See Division 47: Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • Telecommunications [including wired, wireless, satellite and other activities] (61)
    See Section J: Information and communication

Statistics on Europe


Eurostat, the EU statistics hub, collates detailed Structural Business Statistics giving the latest figures for industry, construction, trade and services by sector and country. The indicators available include:

  • number of enterprises
  • turnover or gross premiums written
  • production value
  • value added at factor cost
  • gross operating surplus
  • wages and salaries
  • social security costs
  • gross investment in tangible goods
  • gross investment in land
  • gross investment in existing buildings and structures
  • gross investment in construction and alteration of buildings
  • gross investment in machinery and equipment
  • number of employees
  • number of persons employed per enterprise.

Statistics within the database are available for:

  • Wholesale of electronic and telecommunications equipment and parts (G4652)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’
  • Retail sale of telecommunications equipment in specialised stores (G4742)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’
  • Telecommunications [including wired, wireless, satellite and other activities] (J61)
    See database section ‘SBS – services’

Global statistics

International Telecommunication Union

The International Telecommunication Union collates annual statistics on world telecommunications and ICT indicators. A free global summary is available.


The OECD provides 15 Key ICT Indicators in Excel format. Data includes:

  • Top 50 telecommunications firms and IT firms
  • Broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants in OECD countries
  • Internet selling and purchasing by industry
  • Business use of broadband
  • Share of ICT-related occupations in the total economy in selected countries
  • Telecommunication services revenue in total
  • Share of ICT value added in the business sector value added
  • R&D expenditure in selected ICT industries
  • Share of ICT employment in business sector employment
  • Trade in ICT goods
  • Contributions of ICT investment to GDP growth.

The OECD also maintain a Broadband Portal with links to statistics on:

  • broadband penetration
  • usage
  • coverage
  • prices
  • services and speeds.


The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) collects and compiles industrial statistics known as INDSTAT, which give information on:

  • number of employees
  • number of establishments
  • output
  • value added
  • total wages and salaries.

Statistics by country are available for:

  • TV/radio transmitters; line comm. apparatus (3220)

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade)

The UN compiles and publishes international import and export statistics in the Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade), giving figures for goods traded by value, quantity and weight for each country.

Statistics are available for:

  • Electrical, electronic equipment (85)

UN Industrial Commodity Statistics Database

The UN provides statistics on the quantity of goods produced by country in the Industrial Commodity Statistics Database.

Figures are available for:

  • Transmission apparatus incorporating reception apparatus (47)
  • Telephones, videophones (47)
  • Facsimile machines (47)
  • Telephonic or telegraphic switching apparatus (47)



Average employment costs within this sector are available from Table 14 of the Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for:

  • lines repairers and cable jointers; and
  • telecommunications engineers.

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation


Gov.uk provides some guidance on the main legislation applicable to various sectors, including international trade regulations for telecoms, radiocomms and broadcasting equipment.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

See import and export information for:

UK business guides

Atom Content Marketing guides

The Start Up Donut from Atom Content Marketing provides practical information on starting up and running a number of small business types. Guides cover a range of areas including market research, current trends, regulations, products and services, promotion and pricing. They include:


Reports on this sector can be supplied by the Library to ICAEW members and ACA students.

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further resources

Digital communications industry guide: British Library
British Library industry guides provide listings of resources for industry-specific information, including print directories and materials held by the British Library.

Contact the British Library Business and IP Centre for more information.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

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