The telecom industry's identity crisis

Illustration: Abby Chen/Axios

The internet age that started out as a boon for broadband and wireless providers has become an identity crisis as they face increasing competition from Silicon Valley, an uncertain merger landscape and global pressures in the race to 5G networks.

Why it matters: It's no longer enough to power the pipes and cell towers that send internet traffic coursing around the world. The services that ride on top of that traffic, like Google, Facebook and Amazon, now dominate the internet ecosystem. Meanwhile, companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T that built the networks in the first place are trying to stake their claims in the next round.