China to defy decline in wireless infra spend

China will defy the global downturn in carrier spending on wireless infrastructure, recording double-digit growth even as the global market declines, research firm iSuppli said.

The researchers expect Chinese operators to spend $6.2 billion on wireless infrastructure equipment as the nation's operators gear up for the launch of 3G services, a 13.2% increase over 2008. Yet global spending will slump by 3.5% to $39.7 billion.

"China's wireless operators in 2009 are set make multi-billion dollar infrastructure capital expenditures to support the rollout of 3G networks," said iSuppli director Jagdish Rebello.

iSuppli expects China Mobile to continue to roll-out its nationwide TD-SCDMA network, while China Unicom is expected to launch W-CDMA services in the second half of this year. China Telecom, meanwhile, has began securing vendor quotes for the build-out of its CDMA2000 network.

Spending in India, the second-fastest growing nation, will increase by a relatively small 4.5%, iSuppli said.

Indian operators will be cautious with their 3G investments, seeking to conserve cash following expensive spectrum acquisitions. The bulk of India's 3G spend will occur next year, the researchers said.

Global infrastructure will remain flat in 2010, and rebound with 4% growth in 2011, iSuppli said.