Other regions ready to pass North America in LTE capex, opex

North America's mobile operators ramped up their capital expenditures to roll out LTE, but the globe's other regions are getting in on the action now and will surpass North America in both LTE capex and opex during the next four years, according to researchg firm iGR .

"Although there remains a limited amount of time for significant capex expenditures in the mature LTE markets of North America, Europe and Japan, the large Asia-Pacific region and the developing regions of Latin America and the Middle East and Africa are forecasted to have significant capital expenditures during the forecast period" between 2012 and 2017, said the firm.

Nonetheless, although some North American LTE networks are completing their buildouts, the need for added capacity to serve LTE customers will drive capex in North America. For example, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) CFO Fran Shammo said in July that Verizon was bumping its full-year capex guidance from $16.2 billion to between $16.4 billion and $16.6 billion, due to increased spending Verizon plans to make to improve wireless capacity.

However, iGR expects LTE opex levels will eventually surpass LTE capex levels for all six global regions during the forecast period between 2012 and 2017. This is because network operating costs will grow as the number of subscribers using LTE increases. Earlier this year, iGR said opex will outpace capex spending starting in 2015 in the United States.

The firm said it expects global LTE infrastructure capital expenditures will total $162.9 billion and operating expenditures will reach $221.7 billion in 2017, based upon the anticipated growth of LTE subscriptions and data traffic on the networks.  

For more:
- see this iGR release

Related articles:
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Verizon adds 941K postpaid subs in Q2, crosses 100M total retail connections
Report: U.S. LTE opex to outpace capex starting in 2015
LTE reversing downward trend in RAN capex
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Schoolar: The song mainly remains the same for wireless infrastructure in 2013

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