The spending on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) base stations will hit US$ 12.3 billion in 2013 as countries around the world join the high-speed club. Membership is not exclusive to the developed economies as emerging markets close the digital divide by aggressive network roll-out. Some of these emerging market LTE deployments are government-sponsored initiatives as in Rwanda while others are private ventures as in Sri Lanka.
Worldwide mobile operator capital infrastructure expenditure in 2013 will experience opposing forces from different regional markets. “In North America, mobile carrier CapEx will grow 2.1 percent to US$13.4 billion as the accelerated LTE equipment spend programs from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, etc. concentrate spending in 2013,” said Jake Saunders, VP and practice director of core forecasting at ABI Research.
Mobile capital expenditure in Western Europe contracted 3.8 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) even though mobile operators are building out coverage for 4G, and to a lesser extent enhancing capacity and coverage of their 3G networks. Not only was QoQ spend down but also, year-on-year (YoY) growth was down significantly (19 percent). “Overall capital expenditure for the region is expected to drop 12 percent to $14.4 billion for the year.
A U.S. election year combined with uncertain European financial fundamentals has clouded the economic outlook for the North American market. However, mobile operators are busily preparing their networks for next generation 4G services. “North American mobile cellular capital expenditure is expected to hold its ground in 2012 year-on-year, with expenditure of around US$ 10 billion”, said Jake Saunders, VP for forecasting at ABI Research.