Telecom service providers worldwide are spending more, driven by carrier network transformation and migration projects; the burgeoning number of mobile and broadband subscribers; and increasing demand for personal broadband services and such high-bandwidth video services as mobile TV, mobile video, IPTV and video on demand.
“For the third year in a row, carrier capex has increased in all regions of the world (see chart), but we expect this investment cycle to plateau in 2009 and decrease in 2010. However, service providers in most regions are operating at a sustainable capex-to-revenue ratio in the 15-percent range, which should carry the market in these regions through the plateau without much disruption,” says Stephane Teral, principal analyst at Infonetics Research. “The Asia Pacific region is worrisome, though, because the average capital intensity rate there is a high 21 percent, fueled by China’s rapid growth. If that rate doesn’t come down, we could be looking at the beginning of another telecom bubble in that region.”
Teral also shares the following points:
Public service providers worldwide spent a combined $216.2 billion on capex in 2006, up 13 percent from 2005. Worldwide capex is expected to grow 4 percent in 2007 to $224.6 billion.Service providers earned a combined $1.2 trillion in annual worldwide revenue in 2006, up 8 percent from 2005, and they are expected to increase their revenues 4 percent this year.Asia Pacific’s share of worldwide telecom capex spending is forecast to peak at 34 percent this year, followed by EMEA with 31 percent and North America with 29 percent, although the weak dollar has inflated these percentages.The four telecom- and data-networking equipment categories being invested in most heavily in 2006 and 2007 are mobile RAN, voice, optical and broadband aggregation equipment.The world’s top 15 service providers account for roughly 50 percent of worldwide carrier capex spending.The top service providers that will make up at least half of all public capex spending in each region in 2007 include AT&T, Sprint Nextel and Verizon in North America; Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, BT, Telecom Italia and Telefonica in EMEA; China Mobile, China Telecom and NTT in Asia Pacific; and America Movil, Telmex and Telefonica in CALA.