Mobile capex to exceed €101bn pa by 2013

Global capital expenditure on mobile communications continues to rise due to greater emphasis on new data services, increased traffic load, and preparation for 4G deployments, a report from ABI Research said.

With the US economy's uncertain outlook in 2008, ABI Research expects North America's capex to remain flat this year, while other regions will increase their capex commitments for new 2G/3G deployments or expansions, all-IP service discovery platform upgrades, SoftSwitch unified core systems, and preparations for 4G.

ABI Research calculates that capex investment in 2007 exceeded €83 billion (US$131 billion), and will reach €101 billion (US$163.5 billion) in 2013.

The Asia-Pacific and North American regions are estimated to be the biggest spenders, according to research analyst Hwai Lin Khor.

'Mobile industry spending in the Asia-Pacific area is primarily driven by the emerging markets that are expanding current 2G network footprints and new 3G rollouts; many nations in this region have yet to release their 3G licenses. Mature markets such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong will be spending on service delivery platforms.'

Most current capex is still directed to voice services and 2G networks expansion, as the majority of subscriber net adds in recent years are coming from emerging markets that are fairly contented with simple voice calls and messaging services. However, there is also increased awareness of the need for early investment to ensure that networks are ready to support the capacity demanded by higher bandwidth data services.