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Global Telecom Service Provider Investment

Infonetics Research released the second edition of its 2009 telecom Service Provider Capex, Opex, ARPU, and Subscribers report, which features analysis on how current economic conditions are impacting telecommunications markets -- by region and equipment segment.

"Global telecom service provider capital expenditures hit a plateau in 2008, marking the end of a 5-year investment cycle and the beginning of a 3-year disinvestment cycle, albeit a less dramatic one than what followed the great telecom crash of 2000," predicts Stephane Teral, principal analyst at Infonetics.

Capex will bottom down in 2010 and a new investment cycle will start in 2011, driven by 3G rollouts in India and Central and Latin America, the start of 3G rollouts in Africa, and a ramp-up in LTE deployments in Australia, Brazil, Western Europe, Japan, and North America.

Highlights of the Infonetics market study include:

- Worldwide, service providers spent $305 billion in 2008 on capital expenditure projects, such as network infrastructure upgrades.

- Global capex is forecast to decline at most 6 percent in 2009, mainly due to a significant capex shakeout in the Middle East and Africa, a weakening U.S. dollar, expected declines in the Brazilian real and Mexican peso, and delays in U.S. broadband stimulus funding.

- Infonetics anticipates a year-end bump up in capex, which could bring the overall capex decline in 2009 to less than 6 percent.

- Optical network hardware is a bright spot in today's tightened capex environment, with decent single-digit percent spending growth expected in 2009, despite currency devaluations.

- Mainly due to currency effects, worldwide service provider revenue is forecast to decline only very slightly in 2009, to $1.67 trillion, driven by mobile communication services, as consumers continue to hold on to their mobile services during tough economic times.

- Mobile infrastructure will continue to dominate total global telecom and datacom spending, followed by voice equipment.

- The world's 10 largest service providers (ranked in order by 2008 revenue) are AT&T, NTT, Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Vodafone, China Mobile, Telefonica, BT, and Sprint.

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