Led by Canada and Latin America, regional mobile operators’ spending on backhaul services is expected to show moderate to strong growth to 2015. However, with the exception of the Asia-Pacific region, capital expenditure on microwave backhaul infrastructure will decline—in some cases sharply—after 2010.

CAPEX peaked in Western Europe early this year at about $4.4 B and is already heading to a $4 B point by year’s end, after which it will drop precipitously to less than $2.5 B in 2012. Spending will continue to increase in the Asia-Pacific area to something less than $2 B in 2012, and will also decline after that.

According to ABI Research analyst Xavier Ortiz, “Asia’s backhaul CAPEX is lower than one might expect, lacking demand from China where the government has mandated fiber deployments. Africa ranks a somewhat surprising third due to heavy reliance on microwave backhaul.”

Mobile Networks Practice Director Aditya Kaul adds, “To adapt to these changing market conditions and the shift to all-IP networks, backhaul vendors should keep an eye open for Tier 2 and Tier 3 service providers. Developing countries also present good opportunities. While they may be a tough sell due to limited budgets, underserved regions often need government-mandated upgrades and may have access to helpful government incentives.”

The Indian 3G market is one of the most significant of these developing opportunities.

ABI Research’s “Mobile Network Backhaul” study describes and analyzes these issues, profiles key players and examines some of the most innovative solutions. Forecasts include CAPEX and OPEX for different access technologies, data traffic forecasts by region, OPEX on leased backhaul services, mobile data services by region, microwave infrastructure vendor market share, and microwave CAPEX for new base station installs by region.

It is included in two of the firm’s Research Services, Mobile Networks and Broadband, and will also be part of the upcoming “Mobile Backhaul Research Service.”