Eschewing the oscillation in capital spending distorted by the Internet and telecom bubble of the late 1990's, global telecom capital investment is set to grow between 2012 and 2017 in absolute terms, though remaining relatively constant in percentage terms, according to the latest forecast by Infonetics Research.
As always, the aggregate global numbers often disguise significant changes within specific countries or regions. There is high likelihood that key changes will happen in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries.
China Telecom, for example, the largest provider of fixed-line broadband access to the Internet in China, is likely to reduce its 2014 capital investment for fixed-line broadband Internet access infrastructure by 50 percent.
The reason is a need to shift investment to new Long Term Evolution 4G networks, to catch competitor China Mobile. China Unicom might have to consider such a shift as well.
Most of the six percent growth in telecom capital investment projected for 2014 will come from the BRIC nations, with capex in western countries flat, and up in Japan, Infonetics Research says.
Overall, global spending will grow six percent, according to Infonetics Research principal analyst Stéphane Téral.
Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, and Vodafone slightly increased their capex year-over-year in 2013.
Global telecom carrier capex is forecast by Infonetics to grow at a two percent compound annual growth rate from 2012 to 2017, reaching $355 billion.
Much of the spending will be driven by mobile service providers through 2017, though spending by fixed network providers might shrink, a rather direct reflection of the fact that revenue growth is coming from the mobile segment.
Also, Asia Pacific will remain the region with the highest capex spending through at least 2017.
In addition, Infonetics projects most equipment segments to grow in 2013, with the exception of voice, broadband aggregation, and video infrastructure. While global telecom services revenue is anticipated to hit $2 trillion in 2013.
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