Top 10 leading telco operators in Europe

Mobile Magazine considers some of the leading telco operators in Europe that are committed to ensuring their customers continue to be connected worldwide
Mobile Magazine considers some of the leading telco operators in Europe that are committed to ensuring their customers continue to be connected worldwide
Mobile Magazine considers some of the leading telco operators in Europe that are committed to ensuring their customers continue to be connected worldwide

Telcos - or telecommunications companies - work to ensure that information is successfully transported via telephony and data communication services.

Since the invention of the mobile phone, as well as the rapid growth of internet services, telcos have hugely expanded upon their offerings to ensure that global high-speed networks next-generation Information and Communications Technology (ICT) are as advanced as they can possibly be.

With this in mind, here are some of the leading telco operators across Europe ranked by market cap. These companies are committed to doing everything to connect its customers and continue networking worldwide.

10. Bouygues Telecom

Bouygues Telecom is the third oldest mobile network operator in France and is a mobile phone, internet service provider and IPTV company as part of the Bouygues Group. The company is a full-service electronic communications operator that aims to bring people closer together by providing high-quality internet connection and via both its fixed and mobile networks.

The company was first authorised by the French government to build and operate France's third GSM mobile phone network in 1994, before its network was commercially launched in 1996. In 2020, it acquired Euro-Information Telecom, the mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) for NRJ Mobile, Auchan Telecom, Cdiscount Mobile, CIC Mobile and Crédit Mutuel Mobile (renamed as Bouygues Telecom Business).

9. KPN

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KPN is a leading telecommunications and IT provider and market leader in the Netherlands. It holds both fixed and mobile networks for telephony, data and television and works to serve customers at home and abroad. First established as a postal service in 1752, the company introduced its first telegraph in 1852 as Royal KPN.

The company is headquartered in Rotterdam and now offers telecom providers access to widely branched networks. The company's brands include: KPN, XS4ALL, Simyo, KPN Security, Ortel Mobile, Cam IT Solutions, Solcon, KPN Interned services and StartReady.

8. Telenor

Key facts
  • 99 billion NOK (US$9.25bn) annual revenue 2022
  • 158 million total subscriptions (Q4 2022)
  • 14,000 total employees (Q4 2022)

A Norwegian majority state-owned telecommunications company, Telenor is one of the world's largest mobile telecommunications companies with operations worldwide, mainly focused in Scandinavia and Asia.

The company is committed to responsible business conduct and driven by a goal to empower societies. Connectivity has been Telenor’s area of expertise for more than 165 years, with a continued purpose to connect customers with critical services.

7. BT Group

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Key facts
  • 12 million premises passed with full fibre
  • 72 % of the UK population have access to the 5G network
  • 6500 thwarted cyberattacks

BT is a British multinational telecommunications company headquartered in London, England. It has operations in roughly 180 countries and is one of the largest providers of fixed-line, broadband and mobile services in the UK, in addition to subscription television and IT services. 

The company continues to hold ambitious and positive goals, such as aiming to help 25 million people across the UK to improve their digital skills by March 2026, as well as hoping to achieve net zero carbon emissions by March 2031.

6. Telefónica

Telefónica is a Spanish multinational telecommunications company headquartered in Madrid, Spain. It is one of the largest telephone operators and mobile network providers in the world, providing fixed and mobile telephony, broadband and subscription television.

With a strong presence in roughly 20 countries across Europe and America, the company provides cloud services, security services, advertising, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, financial and other payment services. It markets its services under Telefonica, Aura, Movistar, Vivo and O2 brand names.

In 2023, STC Group became Telefónica's largest shareholder, with a stake worth 2.1 billion euros (US$2.23bn).

5. Vodafone Group

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Vodafone Group is a British multinational telecommunications company, with offices all around the world. It develops a range of leading products and services to connect its customers and work towards building the digital societies of the future.

The company prides itself on its networks keeping family, friends, businesses and governments connected, as it plays a vital role in keeping economies running and the functioning of critical sectors like education and healthcare. Currently, it is one of Europe’s biggest and fastest-growing 5G networks.

4. Cellnex Telecom

Cellnex Telecom is a Spanish wireless telecommunications infrastructure and services company with up to 135,000 sites - including proposed roll-outs up to 2030 - throughout Europe. Its activity is divided into four main areas, including services for telecommunications infrastructures, audiovisual broadcasting networks, security and emergency network services and solutions for smart cities and IoT.

As one of the country's leading telecoms providers and a critical infrastructure provider, millions of citizens, businesses and emergency service organisations trust Cellnex to stay connected.

3. Orange

Key facts
  • 53 million 4G customers
  • 450,000km undersea cables
  • 26.5 million homes connected via fibre
  • 287 million customers
  • 6,498 patents

Orange is a telecom company that provides fixed line, mobile, internet and broadcasting services. It is one of the largest operators of mobile and internet services in Europe and Africa, as well as a global leader in corporate telecommunication services. 

As a major digital service provider in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the company launched its Lead the Future strategic plan in February. It is based on a new enterprise model centred around performance, excellence and trust to help Orange develop a more sustainable ESG enterprise model.

2. Swisscom

Swisscom is a telecom company headquartered in Bern, Switzerland, that offers mobile telecommunications, fixed network, internet and digital TV solutions for business and residential customers. The Swiss government owns 51 percent of Swisscom AG.

As the country’s number one firm for communications, IT and entertainment, Swisscom is one of the most innovative and sustainable companies in Switzerland and has more than 19,000 employees. The company also offers the highest bandwidths in the country with a leading mobile network and the largest fibre-optic network.

1. Deutsche Telekom

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Key facts
  • 245 million mobile customers
  • 25 million fixed-networks lines
  • 21 million broadband lines

Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies. With an annual net revenue of €24.5bn (US$26.7bn) in 2022, up by 1.9 % year-on-year, it is one of the largest telco companies in the world. The telco offers fixed line services, mobile communication services and internet services and is headquartered in Germany.

The company also operates several subsidiaries worldwide, including mobile communications brand T-Mobile. It has continually expanded the services that it offers, having last year expanded into blockchain technology.

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