Global Wireless Capital Expenditure Flat at US$194 Billion in 2015 with 5G Capital Planning in Sight

06 Aug 2015

​ABI Research believes global wireless capital expenditure (CAPEX) will remain flat in 2015, due to strong U.S. dollar impact on the purchase power of mobile operators and the regional unrest in Middle East and North African regions.

As compared to 2014, ABI Research forecasts a slight decline of 0.6% in global CAPEX. North American operators such as AT&T and Verizon are expecting the percentage of CAPEX to revenue to decline in 2015. “As LTE reaches universal coverage in North America, operators focus on network densification and user experience optimization. The FCC’s Net Neutrality and Title II classifications also negatively impact the investment sentiment of network operators,” comments Lian Jye Su, Research Analyst, ABI Research. On the other hand, operators from Europe, Middle East and Africa are committed to their network upgrades and will drive future growth as they target the global enterprise market.

Wireless networks are increasingly heterogeneous and layered, virtualized, software-defined, cloud-based, and self-organizing. As multiple operators, such as Vodafone, Singtel, MegaFon, and Softbank, are currently testing 5G technology, ABI Research forecasts 5G to start around 2020, with capital expenditures anticipating 5G starts a few years ahead. ABI Research believes the spending will be less on macro basestations and more on small cells and small cell clusters. Just as the deployment of LTE has demonstrated a lesser degree of complexity as compared to the deployment of 3G, the deployment of 5G will involve less major hardware swap-outs but rather will be more modular and software centric. Likewise, the CAPEX in the percentage of revenue shall remain stable or even decline.

ABI Research’s study, Mobile Operator CAPEX market data focuses on the regional and global mobile operator capital expenditure, which includes basestation, and core network spend. It is part of ABI Research’s Network Market Tracker Market Research.

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