Rollout of LTE is stemming a downward trend in RAN spending in Western Europe, and will begin to do the same in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Latin America, ABI Research predicts.
The firm states LTE halted a decline in RAN outlay in Western Europe in 2012, and forecasts the other three markets will see the same trend in 2013. Overall spending on LTE base stations is tipped to hit $12.3 billion (€9.4 billion) this year, with emerging markets including Rwanda and Sri Lanka playing a part in the trend.
“There are, however, differences in the type of capital expenditure (Capex) incurred in different regions,” explains Ying Kang Tan, research associate at ABI Research. “Operators in the developed markets are already taking steps to upgrade their networks to LTE-Advanced this year. Going forward, amidst skyrocketing data traffic, they will also invest a larger proportion of their RAN spend on LTE small cells, which will yield significant savings on Capex in addition to increased capacity for wireless operators.”
Growing interest in LTE is also having an impact on 3G capex, the firm notes. ABI predicts a sharp reduction in China Mobile’s investment in TD-SCDMA during 2013, and a 6% fall in total global 3G infrastructure investment during 2013.