“Mobile capital expenditure is forecasted to grow percent to $111.1 billion in 2012, supported by renewed investment in radio access network infrastructure and in-building wireless access,” says Jake Saunders, ABI Research VP. Long Term Evolution and small cell deployments wil drive much of the activity.
A large proportion of the increased capital expenditure year-on-year comes from the Asia-Pacific region. China Mobile, for example is still spending 57 percent of annual capital investment on radio network infrastructure, followed by 18 percent on its transmission and backbone network.
China Mobile has deployed 900 TD-LTE base-stations in six cities as part of the trial but plans to have 200,000 sites in operation by 2013, ABI Research says.
North American capital spending will soften 1.3 percent, though.. AT&T has been adding capacity to its network and expanding backhaul.
Sprint allocates 86 percent of its capex to investment in in data capacity increases and overhauling its legacy network of base stations for multi-mode equipment.
Verizon Wireless seems to be focusing on LTE network assets.
“European CAPEX has been on the back foot relative to North America and Asia-Pacific due to weak macroeconomic factors and regulatory issues, however by 2013 we expect to start to seeing some of the European capex come back as LTE upgrades roll on Europe wide,” says Aditya Kaul, ABI Research practice director.