Cloud providers launched 18 new regions in 2021 after launching an average of 15 per year since 2013, according to TeleGeography’s refreshed cloud and WAN Infrastructure research.

According to the research firm, over the next few years, nearly 50 new cloud regions are planned, with Azure, Google, AWS, and Oracle emerging as drivers of major market growth.

Globally, Asia has the most in-service cloud zones, logging over 230. And it’s poised to keep this record for the foreseeable future. Alibaba recently launched new regions in South Korea and Thailand, in addition to the Philippines at the end of 2021. Further, Microsoft Azure just launched its fifth region in China.

“Regions were accelerating pre-pandemic with 28 new regions in 2019, but numbers unsurprisingly cooled off when restrictions were enforced. We’re now seeing expansion pick up gain in above-average numbers,” says Patrick Christian, principal analyst at TeleGeography. “We expect that this momentum will continue.”

Beyond cloud regions, TeleGeography’s refreshed research also covers pricing trends among cloud and WAN services.

While its role in the WAN is diminishing, MPLS remains a critical component of many enterprise networks, and prices for the service continue to decline across geographic regions. Carriers reported service availability in 5 244 cities around the globe in 2021, but prices varied greatly.

Overall, MPLS prices remain highest in developing or remote markets, such as Johannesburg, Mumbai, and São Paulo, where international Layer 1 connectivity is most expensive and fewer service providers have PoPs.

“Orienting networks toward greater cloud utilisation generally requires additional bandwidth at each site. Markets that are major connectivity hubs – and where international capacity is cheap, such as London, New York, and Hong Kong – are the least expensive option for businesses needing bandwidth. The competition we see among carriers reflects the fact that those offering any international service tend to have PoPs in these cities,” says Christian.