Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Friday, October 10, 2008

Harvest of the Economic Seeds of Greatness

After a fantastic 2007 for worldwide mobile phone network base station shipments, results for this year look pretty weak, according to the latest market study from In-Stat.

In 2007, many new 3G networks were rolled out around the world, and GSM subscriber growth was occurring at a fast clip -- driven by millions of new subscribers in India, Africa, and China, the high-tech market research firm says.

However, those trends will not prevent total worldwide base station shipments from dropping sharply this year, compared to 2007.

"New 3G networks are continuing to be deployed, and some operators like T-Mobile are deploying entirely new WCDMA-type networks," says Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst.

"However, the worldwide economy has been faltering, subscriber GSM growth -- even in fast-growing developing areas -- is starting to slow, and wireless broadband use, while growing, is not growing fast enough for operators to spawn continued base station growth."

There's no doubt that the telecom infrastructure balance of power is shifting. It's moving faster than most analysts had expected. Moreover, the "developing" countries are capitalizing on the missteps of the once "superpower" nations.

When this transformation has run its course, legacy communication empires will wither as the new ones continue to blossom. These economic seeds of greatness, having been sown years ago, are finally producing an abundant harvest.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- Cellular demand in China and India will keep sales of GSM base stations strong for many years.

- WCDMA base station shipments will exceed those of GSM-type base stations by 2011.

- 2009 will see a sharp rise in the number of TD-SCDMA base stations shipped.