Network edge data centre forecast (introduction)

There is much debate in the industry on the topic of edge computing, but little clarity for vendors and potential customers on how much capacity will be available. This article promotes STL Partners’ forecast on the capacity of network edge data centres from 2023-2027.

Network edge data centre forecast

STL Partners has published a forecast that estimates the number edge data centres and their capacity (in terms of number of servers) from 2021-2027, which is a key determinant of the edge computing market size. This currently centres on network edge data centres, which are facilities for edge computing within the telecoms network – mobile, fixed or converged sites. The model focuses on sites that will be owned and operated by telecoms operators and two types of workloads: edge applications and core network functions.

The forecast is available to our Edge Insights Service subscribers, an off-the-shelf research service on all things edge. Updates to the model are published annually, with accompanying reports, and will be shared with subscribers. To subscribe, or simply find out more, feel free to click here to arrange a call with our team.

The model seeks to answer the following key questions:

  • How many network edge data centres will there be in the next 5 years?
  • How are these distributed by country and region?
  • What is the amount of capacity (number of servers) within these edge data centres?
  • How does the type of network the edge data centre primarily sit on impact the number of data centres?
  • What are telecoms operators’ strategies for building out edge data centres?
  • How much of network edge data centre capacity will be taken up by hyperscaler infrastructure?

Below is a limited version of the forecast, redacted but showing the relative outputs from the model. You can select and filter by region using the menu.

The forecast data is based on data modelled for 80 telecoms operators and can be filtered using the following criteria:

  • Type of workload
  • Site location
  • Edge server owner
  • Region
  • Country
  • Telecoms operator

Edge data centre market trends

The accompanying report, Network edge data centre forecast: The rise of the non-telco, identifies some of the key trends within network edge data centre build and telecoms operators’ strategies: 

  • Key factors for determining a telco’s approach and timing for its edge data centres are 5G roadmap, geographic profile and overall edge strategy
  • Momentum for building out network edge data centres has slowed
  • Telecoms operators are taking a risk-averse, pragmatic approach
  • We forecast that there will be approximately 1,250 network edge data centres by 2027

Next steps

Outside of this forecast, STL Partners is adding to its Edge Insights Service, ensuring we publish reports on key topics and incorporate insights through our tools (see an overview of the service below).

STL Partners’ Edge Insights Service