Purpose – This paper aims to identify the number of European companies among the world’s largest telecommunication, media and technology (TMT) companies. Through this, industry trends will be discerned and light shed on whether European companies are losing out to their rivals based in the USA and Asia in relation to the new highly technological economy that is emerging. Design/methodology/approach – The paper begins by outlining the context for the study before detailing the data sources used in the analysis of the world’s largest TMT companies. The data are drawn from successive annual lists of the world’s largest companies published by the Financial Times. Findings – The paper highlights the limited European presence among the world’s largest TMT companies. A significant proportion of these companies provide telecommunication services. Research limitations/implications – The paper draws on annual lists compiled by the Financial Times. The categorisation adopted in these lists changes over time and does not facilitate the identification of TMT operations in companies where the main activities are in other sectors. Practical implications – There is a need for more data to be available in the public domain. One aspect of this relates to the need to extend the analysis to include smaller TMT companies, while another is the need for more detailed information regarding companies operating in more than one sector. Originality/value – The paper extends existing research into structural change within the TMT sector by focussing on Europe. A longitudinal approach is adopted, with the companies uniquely divided into six lines of business.