In today's globalized economy, telecommunications operators are facing ever-increasing competition and challenges. They need to focus on improving their performance in order to remain competitive. This study attempts to examine the managerial performance efficiency of 36 globally leading telecommunications operators by utilizing the data envelopment analysis (DEA) technique. The empirical results indicate that the scale of the operators does play an important role in influencing their operating efficiency. Telecoms can increase their performance by consolidating with other smaller units to achieve the optimal size. European telecom operators were found to perform better than those in the Asia-Pacific region and in America. The results also show that state-own telecoms operate more efficiently than privatized telecoms. In addition, the global telecoms have been ranked and the benchmarks set by using the reference-share measures. These benchmarks may give a first guideline for performance improvement of global telecommunications operators.