Those studious fellows at ABI Research are projecting that the CapEx (Capital Expenditure) of the mobile/cellular business worldwide will exceed $150Bn, with the majority being spent on WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).
Why the focus on WCDMA? Well, 3G runs on WCDMA and one of the strengths of 3G is that it likes handling data. As more applications and advanced data services such as mobile TV and mobile broadband rollout, demand for data will increase dramatically.
It’s not just about the aerials and cellular coverage. As ABI points out “To offer advanced data and content services with improved delivery and reduced network costs, mobile operators will have to invest in more leased capacity, upgrade to microwave technologies, and add fiber links where microwave technologies have been exhausted, in an effort to boost their networks’ backhaul capacity. Operators will also have to deploy advanced switching technology in the backhaul network, to improve traffic flow and maximize the performance of the backhaul infrastructure. ”
If you want to read details on this until your eyes bleed – like “In 2005, China Mobile’s CAPEX in China was $8.86 billion, more than Vodafone’s global total CAPEX ($8.74 billion)” – then ABI have just the document for you. They tell us that “Worldwide Mobile CAPEX Investments” examines global CAPEX spending by mobile operators on all major technology deployments, and forecasts the regional prospects for various technologies and equipment types.
With all of that cash being spent, it doesn’t give us that much hope that mobile data will get much cheaper – which we feel it must, as at current prices it’s just plain impractical for the man in the street to afford.