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Mobile operator capex spending: worldwide trends and forecasts 2016–2025

Caroline Gabriel Senior Contributor, Research

"Mobile operator capex worldwide is set to recover from 2018, but the patterns of investment will never be the same again as operators pursue radically new network economics."

This is Analysys Mason's first comprehensive forecast of mobile operator capex spending and provides an invaluable companion to our wireline network capex forecasts at a time when investment in fibre and wireless are increasingly co-dependent.

Capex spending by mobile operators has been in decline, but the intertwined investments in 5G networks, virtualisation and fibre will drive a gradual recovery from 2018. However, operators will be chasing dramatically lower total cost of ownership in 5G, which will see investment shifting from major physical network deployment to software, automated operations and non-network assets such as content rights.

The report provides:

  • a detailed breakdown of mobile operator capex to 2025, well into the early 5G era
  • an in-depth view of how 5G, as well as related developments such as virtualisation and automation, will affect patterns of investment
  • capex envelopes for five different operator profiles with very different spending priorities
  • capex forecasts broken down by seven regions plus China, and by six categories of spending (RAN, core, IT, infrastructure, transformation and non-network assets).