Mobile operator capital expenditure is expected to grow worldwide 5 percent in 2011, reaching $119 billion, according to new data from ABI Research.
The majority of capex (56 percent) is coming from base-station deployments, upgrades and swap-outs, the firm said.
"Many operators are leaning toward small-cell deployments (microcells, picocells and femtocells) to fill dead zones and boost coverage inside buildings. However operators are also still investing in improving the downlink and uplink performance of their networks, not just on LTE but also HSPA+ and CDMA2000 networks are similarly continuing to upgrade," noted Jake Saunders, vice president of forecasting with ABI Research in a press release.
Spending on the core network is also increasing. In 2011, the firm expects core network capex to approach $12 billion as operators are not only investing in LTE evolved packet core (EPC) upgrades but also soft switches.
Recent research from Dell'Oro Group showed that sales of CDMA/EV-DO made up nearly one-third of the mobile infrastructure market's revenues during the first quarter.
Total mobile infrastructure market revenues jumped 22 percent during the first quarter from the year-ago quarter to $9.6 billion. CDMA/EV-DO revenues increased 65 percent with most of the gain coming from North America where Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), for instance, recently introduced the CDMA-based iPhone and uses CDMA EV-DO has a fallback solution to LTE. Dell'Oro noted that North America saw the strongest increase CDMA since the inception of the technology.
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