Communications industry accounting for revenue recognition: More critical than ever

The new revenue model is a reality: The new global revenue recognition standard will apply a single model to all contracts with customers in order to improve comparability within an industry, across industries and capital markets. Telecom entities will have to carefully consider outsourcing and network IT contracts, various types of activation/connection services and other upfront services to determine if these services meet the definition of a separate performance obligation. The timing of recognition of revenue for telecom entities that currently do not account for equipment (such as handsets) separately from the telecom services may be significantly affected.

The new model will have accounting impacts including:

  • Multiple performance obligations
  • “Cash cap” guidance
  • Collectibility
  • Fulfillment costs

It is clear that adoption of the new standard will impact people, policies, processes and systems. Management will need to perform a comprehensive review of existing contracts, business models, company practices, accounting policies, information technology systems, and internal processes and controls to assess the extent of changes needed as a result of the new standard. PwC can help as companies navigate this complex change. Resources are provided below to help you assess the impact on your organization, however feel free to contact our subject matter experts to have a more in depth conversation.

Industry-tailored resources



  • Revenue Recognition: Communications industry supplement
    Access the replay Note: This replay is not eligible for CPEs

General resources

PwC's Revenue Recognition website

In the loop: Reporting revenue – new model, new strategy?

Watch PwC's Revenue Recognition:
The future is now
 webcasts series

How revenue recognition will change

What actions companies can take to prepare

Contact us

Pierre-Alain Sur
Technology, Infocomm, Entertainment and Media Leader
Tel: +1 (646) 471 6973

Shara Slattery
Partner, Entertainment, Media and Communications Assurance
Tel: +1 (312) 298-5092

Richard Veysey
Partner, Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory
Tel: +1 (646) 471-7973

Bob Barrett
Partner, National Quality Organization
Tel: +1 (973) 236-5602

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