Like telecommunications itself, the telecommunications industry is broader than it was in the past. It encompasses multiple service providers, including telephone companies, cable system operators, Internet service providers, wireless carriers, and satellite operators. The industry today includes software-based applications with a communications emphasis and intermediate layers of software incorporated into end-to-end communication services. It also includes suppliers of telecommunications equipment and software products sold directly to consumers and also to service providers, as well as the telecommunications service providers
It includes companies selling components or intellectual property predominately of a communication flavor, including integrated circuit chip sets for cell phones and cable and digital subscriber line (DSL) modems.
No longer a vertically integrated business, the telecommunications industry is enabled by a complex value chain that includes vendors, service providers, and users. The telecommunications value chain begins with building blocks such as semiconductor chips and software. These components are, in turn, incorporated into equipment and facilities that are purchased by service providers and users. The service providers then, in turn, build networks in order to sell telecommunications services to end users. The end users include individuals subscribing to services like telephony (landline and cellular) and broadband Internet access, companies and organizations that contract for internal communications networks, and companies and organizations that operate their own networks.
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