$72 Billion & Counting

7:00 AM -- Here at EuroBlog we like big numbers (as well as large helpings), so the GSM Association (GSMA) and Deutsche Bank AG made us happy today with a press release that puts global mobile broadband capital expenditure on mobile broadband in 2010 at $72 billion, "52 percent of all operator investment in mobile infrastructure globally."

According to the data compiled by Deutsche Bank, carriers in Asia/Pacific will shell out "up to" $34 billion, while the North Americans will splash out $19 billion (about 80 percent of the region's total mobile capex). The Europeans are "expected to invest up to $14 billion."

And according to the GSMA, the $72 billion total, if achieved, would represent a 15 percent increase on 2008 (putting that year's total mobile broadband capex at about $65 billion).

But what are we actually talking about here? In what, exactly, is this enormous wad of spondoolicks being invested?

In terms of technologies, it covers the major flavors of mobile broadband -- HSPA/HSPA+, WCDMA, and EV-DO/CDMA -- but doesn't encompass them all: Any potential 2010 investments in Long Term Evolution (LTE) or TD-SCDMA, China's 3G standard that's being rolled out extensively by China Mobile, are not included. (See Prepping for MWC: LTE and China Pumps $15B Into 3G.)

In terms of products and stuff, here's what that $72 billion is expected to be spent on: radio access network (RAN) gear; backhaul systems; mobile core technologies; towers; IT systems; and capitalized staff costs (though it's unclear whether hot beverages for the network construction crews are included there).

The GSMA also provided an update on HSPA connections globally: "There are currently 200 million HSPA connections worldwide, with more than 1,800 HSPA enabled devices available from more than 150 suppliers. Across 123 countries, there are currently 294 commercially live networks, of which 183 currently deliver peak data rates of above 3.6 Mbps, and 37 commercially live HSPA+ networks, each capable of delivering data speeds up to 21 Mbps." The association expects the number of HSPA connections to increase to 342 million by the end of 2010.

It's nice to have another big number to close out!

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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