telecommunications service provider (TSP) is a type of communications service provider that has traditionally provided telephone and similar services. This category includes incumbent local exchange carriers, competitive local exchange carriers, and mobile wireless communication companies.

While some people use the terms “telecom service provider” and “communications service provider” interchangeably, the term TSP generally excludes Internet service providers (ISPs), cable companies, satellite TV, and managed service providers.

TSPs provide access to telephone and related communications services. In the past, most TSPs were government owned and operated in most countries, due to the nature of capital expenditure involved in it. But today there are many private players in most regions of the world, and even most of the government owned companies have been privatized.

Telecommunications systems are generally run by telecommunications service providers, also known as communications service providers. These providers historically offered telephone and related services and now offer a variety of internet and WAN services, as well as metropolitan area network and global services.

In many countries, telecom service providers were primarily government owned and operated, but that is no longer the case, and many have been privatized. The International Telecommunication Union is the United Nations agency that administers telecommunications and broadcasting regulations, although most countries also have their own government agencies to set and enforce telecommunications guidelines. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission is the primary regulatory agency.

Within the large umbrella of companies that provide different types of telecommunications services are internet service providers, wireless service providers, radio and television broadcasters, cable companies, satellite television providers and managed service providers.