ABI Research says that capital spending is likely to surge 4.9% to US$10.5 Billion this year as North American operators continue upgrading to LTE. Their study, “Mobile Capital Expenditure Forecast: North America,” focuses on the North-American region and includes base station and core network data.
These spending plans include:
- In 2Q-2012, Verizon Wireless announced it had discontinued investment in the expansion and capacity enhancement of its 3G network as the operator has allocated those resources to building out LTE. On a year-on-year basis, capital expenditure should trend flat or slightly down. The operator is confident its 4G footprint will at least be equal to its 3G footprint by mid-2013.
- AT&T is still spending substantially on wireline upgrades, but in 1Q-2012, wireless telecoms took 54% of its total CAPEX, up by US $454 million YoY to US$2.3 billion.
- T-Mobile USA announced that it will invest US$4 billion in 2012 and 2013 to strengthen its 4G network, including the planned launch of LTE in 2013. Expenditures in 1Q-2012 were essentially neutral in 1Q-2012 due in part to these network modernization efforts.
- Sprint’s wireless upgrades to support LTE are helping to drive up its capital expenditure commitments to US$ 710 million in 1Q-2012, up 58% YoY.
- Clearwire will build out LTE-TDD capacity. The first phase of LTE overlay network build-up saw the installation of 8,000 sites in “hot zones” in urban centers as part of the company’s strategy to provide capacity offload services to other operators. Clearwire expects CAPEX in 2012 will amount to US$350 to 400 million.
Infonetics Research reports that LTE spending is up 128% from the year-ago first quarter, and the number of mobile operators committing to LTE continues to increase rapidly.
The research firm forecasts the LTE equipment market to grow to $17.5 billion globally in 2016. In 1Q12, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent are once again neck and neck in the race for global LTE revenue leadership, followed by Huawei.
Global smartphone users are expected to number almost 1 Billion by the end of 2013.