Report: North American mobile infrastructure capex expected to peak this year

Nov. 15, 2013
ABI Research reports that major mobile operators in North America are nearing the end of their first wave of LTE investment.

ABI Research reports that major mobile operators in North America are nearing the end of their first wave of LTE investment. The firm's latest research states that "already Verizon’s LTE network boasts impressive population coverage of more than 95% [while] around 70% of [North American subscribers] also have access to AT&T’s LTE network. [And] in Canada, Telus’ LTE network covers 77% of the population, while Bell and Rogers are hot on its heels."

“To be sure, there is still work to be done,” comments Ying Kang Tan, research associate at ABI Research. “These operators are still tuning their networks, deploying small cells to improve capacity as well as indoor coverage, preparing their networks for Voice-over-LTE, and employing carrier aggregation techniques where necessary."

Related: Verizon to use LTE small cells from Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson

"However, [this] does mean [that] a significant portion of LTE capital expenditure has been incurred," adds Tan. "In the whole of last year, we saw North American operators allocating US$ 92.3 of capital expenditure per subscription on average.” Other global regions will only experience their peaks in a few years’ time, adds ABI. One deciding factor is how efficient governments are at releasing 4G spectrum which usually comes with aggressive roll-out obligations.

“Many major emerging markets will sell off LTE spectrum in the near future, including Brazil and Mexico,” forecasts Jake Saunders, VP and practice director for ABI's Mobile Capex Research Service. “Next year, the progress on the transition from analogue to digital television in Africa will be an opportunity to keep an eye on. If the participating countries can all stick to the schedule, Africa could well see major investment activities in around two to three years’ time as the digital dividend spectrum becomes available.”

ABI Research’s Mobile Operator CAPEX market data focuses on the regional and global mobile operator capital expenditure, which includes base station and core network spending. Learn more.

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