Wireless operators who plan for LTE may be able to flank the negative economy, ABI Research analyst Nadine Manjaro said today.
Verizon Wireless previously said it will begin its LTE rollout by the end of this year, while Japan’s NTT DoCoMo is likely to follow the same timeframe, she noted. That could help infrastructure companies in an otherwise down period and could spur other carriers to keep up, she said.
“We forecast that by 2013 operators will spend over $8.6 billion on LTE base station infrastructure alone. For operators that have already deployed 3G networks, LTE will be a key [capital expenditure] driver over the next five years,” she said.
A notable exception is AT&T, which may wait until 2011 or 2012 for LTE, because its HSPA network is already fairly quick compared to other 3G systems. AT&T may wish to maximize that investment, Manjaro explained.
An exception on the infrastructure side is Nortel, she said. Rather than diversify into the tough service provider market and risk additional financial trouble, Nortel should reinforce its enterprise business, then re-evaluate the service provider field in a few years – perhaps when AT&T is ready.