The World's 10 Most Valuable Telecom Brands

Ranking The Telecom Company Brands

Last week we offered up the 20 most valuable brands among IT vendors. This week it's the telecommunications industry's turn. Every year Millward Brown, the brand marketing consulting firm, releases its "BrandZ" list of the most recognized global brands, including telecommunications companies. Using the BrandZ database of 2 million consumers, the company calculates a company's "brand value" -- defined as the dollar amount a brand contributes to a corporation's overall value. Here are the 10 telecom companies with the highest brand values and a few thoughts about how they got there. We also cite where the companies stand on the overall BrandZ list of 100 best-known brands -- Deutsche Telecom, for example, is right behind Disney, and Orange, for example, is one step ahead of Intel.

Note the number of telecommunications companies based in China, India and other populous countries. There are brand-recognition advantages when you provide telecom service in regions with a billion-plus residents.

No. 10: Airtel

Brand Value: $10.1 billion

New Delhi, India-based Bharti Airtel provides telecommunications and wireless services to 269 million customers in 20 countries in Asia and Africa. In India it also offers broadband DSL, IPTV, ecommerce and other services.

This year Airtel's brand value is down 13 percent from 2012, dropping it 18 spots on the top 100 brands list to No. 89.

No. 9: MTS

Brand Value: $10.6 billion

Mobile TeleSystems is a leading provider of telecommunications services, including voice, mobile, broadband and cable television, in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States that formerly made up the Soviet Union. The company has more than 100 mobile subscribers in Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

MTS' brand value rose 11 percent this year, moving it up three spots on the top 100 brands list to No. 82.

No. 8: MTN

Brand Value: $11.4 billion

MTN Group, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, provides mobile telecommunications services to 195 million subscribers in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The company is currently trying to get a license to operate in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

One way the company has raised its profile is by sponsoring football teams (soccer to us Americans), including England's famous Manchester United Football Club.

MTN's brand value surged 23 percent in 2013, moving it up nine spots on the top 100 brands list to No. 82.

No. 7: Movistar

Brand Value: $13.3 billion

Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, Telefonica Movistar provides mobile phone services in that country, as well as to subscribers in more than a dozen Central and South American countries. (The company purchased BellSouth's South American mobile operations in 2005.) The company is owned by Telefonica S.A.

Movistar's brand value dropped 22 percent in 2013, causing the company to plunge 25 spots on the top 100 brands list to No. 66.

No. 6: Orange

Brand Value: $13.8 billion

Originally founded in the U.K., Orange was purchased from Vodaphone by France Telecom in August 2000 and is now headquartered in Paris, France. Today the company provides telecommunications, mobile phone, Internet and IP television services throughout Europe and Africa.

Orange's brand value declined 10 percent in 2013, dropping the company 10 spots on the top 100 brands list to No. 60.

No. 5: Deutsche Telekom

Brand Value: $23.9 billion

Bonn, Germany-based Deutsche Telekom operates in 50 countries around the world, offering broadband, Internet, mobile phone and IP television services. The company serves 133 million mobile subscribers. The company owns T-Mobile, which provides mobile phone service globally, including in the U.S.

Deutsche Telekom's brand value declined 11 percent in 2013, dropping the company 7 spots on the top 100 brands list to No. 27.

No. 4: Vodafone Group

Brand Value: $39.7 billion

London, U.K.-based telecommunications company Vodafone provides fixed line, mobile phones, Internet and digital television services globally. Vodafone has struggled to recover its reputation as a reliable mobile phone service supplier since 2011 when its 3G network suffered a number of system failures and the company was unable to keep up with the growing demands of its mobile phone customers.

Vodaphone's brand value declined 8 percent in 2013, dropping its brand ranking five spots on the top 100 brands list to No. 17. It's ranking put it just behind Chinese banking giant ICBC and one spot ahead of Wal-Mart.

No. 3: Verizon

Brand Value: $53.0 billion

Headquartered in New York City, Verizon offers telecommunications, mobile phone, cable TV and Internet services. In the last year, the company continued to expand its mobile broadband network while offering a range of Internet and cloud services through channel partners.

Despite increasing its brand value by 8 percent, nearly $4 billion, in 2013, Verizon fell three spots on this year's top 100 brands rankings. Verizon's ranking put the company just below General Electric and one spot ahead of Wells Fargo Bank.

No. 2: China Mobile

Brand Value: $55 billion

Mobile China provides mobile phone, Internet and multimedia services in mainland China, Hong Kong and Pakistan and has a customer base of 710 million. The state-owned telecommunications company is the leading mobile phone service supplier in China and claims to have the world's largest mobile network and world's largest mobile customer base.

China Mobile's brand value grew 18 percent in 2013, allowing it to hold steady at No. 10 on the top 100 brand rankings.

No. 1: AT&T

Brand Value: $75.5 billion

Dallas-based AT&T provides mobile and fixed-line telephone service and broadband cable services throughout the U.S.

The original AT&T Corp. was the parent phone company for the U.S. for decades before being forced to divest its regional operating companies in 1983 following a U.S. anti-trust suit. What we know as AT&T today was SBC Communications (previously Southwestern Bell Corp.), which purchased AT&T in 2005. While SBC briefly considered dropping the AT&T brand and logo, it reversed itself and became the AT&T of today.

AT&T increased its brand value by 10 percent in 2013, boosting its ranking on the top 100 brands list by two spots to No. 6. That puts it just ahead of Microsoft and right behind iconic brand Coca-Cola.