The world’s operator community will see rise capex to record levels this year as it launches LTE networks, modernizes existing mobile networks and carries out national wireline broadband initiatives.
Analyst firm Infonetics is predicting that capex will plateau after this year at around €275 billion.
"We're expecting a telecom capex hike in 2012 as operators around the world ramp their spending like crazy,” said analyst Stéphane Téral.
“Operators have to invest in their networks or they'll disappear – competition is too cut-throat not to."
In 2011, worldwide capex was up three percent year-on-year to around €240 billion.
Spending on every type of network equipment grew last year with the exception of TDM voice, which continued its steep decline.
Europe's “Big 5” – Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, France Telecom and Telecom Italia – have increased capital intensity by two percentage points for the first time in five years, according to Infonetics.
Wireless operators' share of capex is forecast to grow from a quarter to nearly a third of global capex between 2012 and 2016.
"High demand everywhere for telecom services, particularly mobile broadband, is fueling the latest investment cycle,” added Téral.