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China's mobile infra spending to hit $11.2B in 2014

Posted: 26 Apr 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:4G/LTE? wireless services? mobile infrastructure? wireless investment?

According to the latest data from IHS Inc., the increasing spending on equipment intended to support the rollout of 4G/LTE wireless services is expected to drive China's total spending on mobile infrastructure gear to top $11.2 billion in 2014. This year, China's mobile infrastructure spending will fall by seven percent to $9.9 billion, down from $10.7 billion last year. In 2013, spending will edge up one percent to $10 billion before rising by 12 percent in 2014, noted the market research firm.

"Time-division (TD) LTE is undergoing pre-commercial trials in China, which will continue through 2H12," stated Hailin Zhao, analyst for China electronics research at IHS. "However, actual LTE services will start to launch in 2013, boosting infrastructure gear expenditures. The year 2014 will mark the peak of the current infrastructure gear spending cycle until the next generation of wireless investment begins."

By the end of last year, China's mobile users reached 975.7 million, up 15.9 percent from 2010. Out of this total, 2G subscribers increased 6.7 percent to 848.2 million. Meanwhile 3G subscribers grew explosively by 171 percent to 127.5 million, detailed IHS.

China mobile capital expenditure forecast

Driven by 4G/LTE, the China's wireless investment will inch up one percent to $10 billion in 2013, before rising by 12 percent in 2014.

In the same period, China Unicom had deployed 240,000 wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) base stations with more than 720,000 carrier sectors (CS). Meanwhile, China Telecom deployed about 400,000 base stations with over 1.4 million CS. Furthermore, the number of time-division synchronous code division multiple access (TD-SCDMA) base stations in operation reached 200,000 with 1.5 million CS.

In terms of the GSM network, there were 680,000 base stations with more than 7.5 million transceivers (TRXs) operated by China Mobile, compared to 380,000 base stations with more than 2 million TRXs that were deployed by China Unicom. Moreover, China's broadband network volume reached 230 million ports, up 25.7 percent from the end of 2010, added IHS.

China Mobile to finalize TD-LTE trials
China Mobile started the second phase of its TD-LTE trial in October 2011, with the trial anticipated to be finished before the end of June this year.

More than 10,000 evolved universal mobile telecommunications systems (UMTS) terrestrial radio access network node Bs (eNodeBs) were planned to be built. Three citiesBeijing, Tianjin and Qingdaowill take part in the second round of the trial.

The second phase of the trial will focus mainly on testing TD/SCDMA and TD-LTE dual-mode equipment and devices. This will allow China Mobile to practice large-scale commercial deployments and to enhance its interconnection and interworking capability, such as roaming and handover, among different vendors' TD-LTE equipment and devices.

IHS estimates that the total investment will reach as much as $500 million for the second round. Most of the eNodeBs deployed in the next trial can reuse the current TD-SCDMA network resources, including civil works and fiber optical, to greatly reduce total capital expenditures.

China Mobile also plans to launch its TD-LTE pre-commercial in Shenzhen and Hangzhou 2H12, with the total number of TD-LTE eNodeBs amounting to 20,000 units. If TDLTE licenses can be issued at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2013, the operator will complete its coverage in the densely populated areas at various municipalities, provincial capitals and cities specially designated in the state plan by the end of 2013, and then go on to seamlessly cover the urban areas at or above the county-level cities by the end of 2014.

IHS estimates that the number of TD-LTE eNodeBs will total 150,000 units by the end of 2015.





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