Edge Capacity Forecast

Introducing STL Partners’ telco network edge forecast

This dashboard presents the key findings of STL Partners’ telco network edge capacity forecast. Its purpose is to provide answers to key questions such as:

  • How many edge data centres will telcos build and make available for consumer/enterprise applications?
  • How much capacity of telco edge computing will there be globally?
  • How much of telco edge computing will be used for distributed core network functions vs. consumer/enterprise applications?
  • What proportion of telco edge data centre capacity will be taken up by hyperscalers’ platforms?

The dashboard presents a summary of our model output and the associated graphics for the world’s regions and the data for 55 of the leading telecoms operators.

Network edge capacity is forecast to build slowly reach an inflection point in 2023

High-level findings from the model indicate that:

  • There will be about 1,500 network edge sites by 2025: We will not see tens of thousands of network edge sites any time soon. In fact, most telecoms operators have been deploying 2-3 edge data centres in their first year, with some exceptions in the U.S (e.g. Cox and Verizon, who already have over 10 sites in the country). The model forecasts there will be an inflection point in 2023 when more telcos will have deployed 5G (standalone core) and the early majority starts to launch their edges.
  • Most edge locations will be at the transport aggregation layer: Telcos are still proving the model and are starting with deploying a relatively small number of edge data centres in the transport aggregation layer, between the core and access network. This is often referred to as the “near edge”. Building a highly distributed system of edge nodes in the access network will require significant investment, which most telcos will wait to make once there is significant demand for ultra-low latency applications.
Edge Computing Market Sizing Tool

Source: STL Partners


  • Type of workload
    • Core network functions
    • Edge applications
  • Site
    • Access site
    • Access aggregation
    • Transport aggregation
  • Edge server owner
    • Telecoms operator
    • Hyperscaler
  • Primary network type
    • 4G
    • 5G
    • Fixed (cable, fibre, copper)
  • Edge strategy
    • Connectivity queen
    • Help me buddy
    • Wholesale house
    • Love me some edge
  • Region
    • Europe & Central Asia
    • East Asia & Pacific
    • Latin America & Caribbean
    • Middle East & North Africa
    • North America
    • South Asia
    • Sub-Saharan Africa