Telecommunications companies use various technologies to transmit information globally. Some of the largest companies in the telecommunications sector provide telephone and wireless services, as well as internet data and video communications.
The telecommunications sector is changing rapidly. Traditional technologies such as wireline (also known as landline or fixed-line) telephone, radio, and television once dominated the telecommunications universe. But wireless mobile and internet technology are quickly becoming the new norm.
Below are the 10 biggest telecommunications companies by 12-month trailing (TTM) revenue. This list is limited to companies that are publicly traded in the U.S. or Canada, either directly or through ADRs. Some companies outside the U.S. report profits semi-annually instead of quarterly, so the 12-month trailing data may be older than it is for companies that report quarterly. All figures are as of January 11, 2023, courtesy of YCharts.
Some of the stocks below are only traded over-the-counter (OTC) in the U.S., not on exchanges. Trading OTC stocks often carries higher trading costs than trading stocks on exchanges. These can decrease potential returns.
#1 AT&T Inc. (T)
Revenue (TTM): $163.71 billion
Net Income (TTM): $20.04 billion
Market Cap: $138.76 billion
1-Year Trailing Total Return: -21.88%
Exchange: New York Stock Exchange
AT&T Inc. was incorporated in 1983 and has its headquarters in Dallas, TX. It is a holding company that provides communications and digital entertainment services globally. Its services and products include wireless communications, data/broadband and internet services, digital video services, local and long-distance telephone services, telecommunications equipment, managed networking, and feature film, television, and gaming production and distribution. The company also owns and operates regional TV sports networks. AT&T was formerly known as SBC Communications Inc.
#2 Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)
Revenue (TTM): $135.65 billionNet Income (TTM): $19.29 billionMarket Cap: $176.18 billion1-Year Trailing Total Return: -17.53%Exchange: New York Stock Exchange
Formerly known as Bell Atlantic Corporation, Verizon Communications was incorporated in 1983 and is headquartered in New York, NY. Verizon is a holding company that provides communications, information, and entertainment products and services worldwide to consumers, businesses, and government organizations through its consumer and business segments. It offers wireless voice and data services and equipment sales, as well as data and video communications products and services, such as broadband video, data center and cloud services, security and managed network services, and local and long distance voice services.
#3 Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGY)
Revenue (TTM): $124.19 billionNet Income (TTM): $8.11 billionMarket Cap: $107.05 billion1-Year Trailing Total Return: 25.68%Exchange: OTC
Deutsche Telekom was established in 1995 and is headquartered in Bonn, Germany. The company is a provider of integrated telecommunications and information technology services. It offers fixed-line telephone services, mobile communications services, internet access, and combined information technology and telecommunications services to customers in Germany, Eastern Europe, and the U.S. It collaborated with VMware, Inc. to build a cloud-based platform that improves the functions of radio access networks for LTE and 5G networks. In addition, it works with Microsoft to provide superior cloud computing.
#4 Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)
Revenue (TTM): $121.21 billionNet Income (TTM): $5.40 billionMarket Cap: $167.17 billion1-Year Trailing Total Return: -22.84%Exchange: Nasdaq
Comcast Corporation was established in 1963 and its headquarters is located in Philadelphia, PA. Comcast is a media and technology company. It has five primary business segments: Cable Communications, Media, Studios, Theme Parks, and Sky. Comcast delivers Xfinity-branded broadband, video, voice, wireless, and other services to residential and business customers. It offers the Peacock streaming service. Comcast also provides direct-to-consumer options that include video, broadband, voice and wireless phone services. It runs Sky News broadcast and Sky Sports. Comcast Corp. owns the Philadelphia Flyers professional hockey team as well as other sports teams.
#5 Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (NTTYY)
Revenue (TTM): $101.51 billionNet Income (TTM): $15.07 billionMarket Cap: $96.92 billion1-Year Trailing Total Return: 1.78%Exchange: OTC
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone was founded in 1952. Its headquarters is in Tokyo, Japan. Nippon is a holding company that provides telecommunication services. It offers domestic intra-prefectural communication services, such as fixed voice-related, Internet Protocol (IP), and packet communications services. Nippon sells telecommunications equipment and also provides system integration and network system services. Additionally, Nippon operates businesses in real estate, finance, and more.
In 1877, the Bell Telephone Company was founded in Boston, MA. It was the first telephone company in the United States. In 1880, it was incorporated as the American Bell Telephone Company.
#6 T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS)
Revenue (TTM): $80.08 billionNet Income (TTM): $1.54 billionMarket Cap: $186.08 billion1-Year Trailing Total Return: 41.44%Exchange: Nasdaq
T-Mobile US was established in 1994. Its headquarters is in Bellevue, WA. T-Mobile US is a major U.S. wireless carrier that operates in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It delivers various data plans as well as consumer and business telecommunications services. T-Mobile also offers prepaid wireless products and services. It sells its devices and services, as well as those for Metro by T-Mobile, through company owned and operated stores, websites, and its mobile app. In addition, it sells its products for resale to third-party distributors through third-party retail outlets and websites. In April 2020, T-Mobile completed its merger with Sprint Corp.
#7 Charter Communications (CHTR)
Revenue (TTM): $53.56 billionNet Income (TTM): $5.47 billionMarket Cap: $58.32 billion1-Year Trailing Total Return: -38.12%Exchange: Nasdaq
Charter Communications was established in 1993. Its headquarters is in Stamford, CT. A broadband and cable operator, Charter Communications provides consumers and businesses internet, mobile and voice services, WiFi, virus and spyware protection, and high performance wireless routers. The company also offers voice over internet protocol (VOIP) communications and advertising opportunities for networks and local advertisers. Charter Communications owns and operates regional sports and news networks. It has over 30 million customers in more than 40 states across the U.S.
#8 Vodafone Group PLC (VOD)
Revenue (TTM): $49.01 billionNet Income (TTM): $2.22 billionMarket Cap: $29.46 billion1-Year Trailing Total Return: -28.72%Exchange: Nasdaq
Vodafone Group was incorporated in 1983 and is headquartered in Newbury, the United Kingdom. The company provides a range of telecommunications services, including voice and data communications worldwide. It offers mobile services, such as call, text, and data access, as well as fixed-line services, including broadband, television, and voice. The company also offers Internet of Things (IoT), public and private cloud services, cloud-based applications, and products for securing networks and devices. Vodafone has over 300 million mobile customers, over 25 million fixed broadband customers, and over 20 million TV service customers.
#9 Orange S.A. (ORAN)
Revenue (TTM): $47.45 billionNet Income (TTM): $4.73 billionMarket Cap: $28.13 billion1-Year Trailing Total Return: 3.38%Exchange: New York Stock Exchange
Orange S.A. was established in 1990 and makes its headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France. It is a multinational telecommunications company that operates in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. As one of Europe’s largest operators, Orange serves residential, professional, and large business clients. The company provides services including fixed-line telephone, leased lines, data transmission, mobile telecommunications, cable television, internet services, and broadcasting. It also offers mobile financial services. In addition, Orange provides national and international roaming services and online advertising services. Formerly known as France Telecom, it became Orange S.A. in 2013.
#10 KDDI Corp. (KDDIY)
Revenue (TTM): $45.04 billionNet Income (TTM): $5.37 billionMarket Cap: $65.02 billion1-Year Trailing Total Return: 0.42%Exchange: OTC
KDDI is based in Tokyo, Japan and was incorporated in 1984. It provides personal and business telecommunications services internationally and within Japan. In addition to cellular services (smartphone, mobile phone) and fixed-line services, the company provides network, data center, cloud/SaaS, security, and IoT services. It also offers financial and payment services. Further, it offers a variety of technology solutions for telecommunications carriers and cloud providers.
What’s the Focus of Telecom Companies?
The cornerstone of telecommunication companies has always been communication services and devices. And while some telecoms have offered voice services (starting with the telephone and landline) for many decades, more recently the focus has grown to include services related to data, text, and video.
Is the Telecom Sector a Good Investment?
The sector offers investors attractive investment opportunities due to its growth and income potential. And because telecommunications services are becoming essential services for consumers and businesses, the sector shows increasing stability throughout changing business cycles.
What’s the Origin of AT&T?
AT&T dates back to the 19th century and is connected with the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. It was originally known as the American Telegraph and Telephone Company and Bell was one of its founders.
The Bottom Line
There are many telecommunications companies throughout the world providing telecom services for global communication in a variety of forms. Voice, data, streaming video, mobile payments, cloud computing are just some of the offerings.
While there are risks with any investment, telecom companies can offer investors the potential for both growth and income opportunities. The 10 biggest telecommunications companies listed above may be a good place to start your research.