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Wireless & Mobile Landscape

U.S. LTE Network Infrastructure Spending Forecast, 2014-2019

Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks are now firmly established in the U.S. with the majority of mobile subscribers using LTE devices. To meet the increasing demand for mobile bandwidth, especially to support video, the larger mobile operators are in the process of upgrading their LTE networks, and densifying the cellular architecture.

iGR forecasts that the LTE market will continue to grow and dominate the U.S. mobile landscape for the foreseeable future. iGR expects that subsequent versions of LTE (and the associated new features) will form the basis of new 5G networks in the next few years. To support additional LTE capacity, mobile operators are increasingly refarming 2G spectrum, as well as acquiring additional spectrum resources through auctions and private transactions.

The demand for mobile data bandwidth will continue to rise and mobile operators are continually balancing their network spending between coverage and capacity. The engineers strive to provide sufficient coverage to be competitive and sufficient capacity to meet the needs of the growing subscriber base, while minimizing unnecessary network spending. As well as spending on new network builds, this includes minimizing network operating costs wherever possible.

The total LTE network build and operating costs are forecast to rise over the next five years, as more consumers use LTE, more devices are added to the networks and more bandwidth is consumed. While iGR expects the overall LTE network operating cost to increase, the operating expense per GB will decline due to increased efficiencies in the network. This includes adding additional channels to existing cell sites and deploying new sites on roof tops, street poles and other ‘small cell’ locations.

This report forecasts the LTE infrastructure investment and network operating costs per operator in the U.S., forecasts the spending split by network component, and forecasts the spending split by macro cell sites, DAS and small cells.


Key Questions Answered

  • How much mobile data will the LTE networks carry in the U.S.?
  • How will the amount of data traffic carried on LTE networks grow in the U.S. in the next five years?
  • What is the forecast for the number of LTE subscribers in the U.S. in the next five years?
  • How much mobile data is each LTE subscriber expected to consume and how does this change?
  • Which operators are investing the most in LTE networks?
  • How much of the LTE network build and operating spending is for macro cell sites, DAS and small cells?
  • What is the impact of densification on LTE spending?
  • How much are U.S. operators investing in LTE both individually and in the aggregate?
  • How big is the LTE infrastructure opportunity in the U.S. in the next five years?
  • What is the share of LTE infrastructure spending on the network components in the next five years?
  • How big are the LTE operating costs in the next five years?
  • How do the network build and operating cost forecasts vary by operator?

Who Should Read

  • Mobile network operators
  • LTE network infrastructure vendors
  • Small cell and DAS OEMs
  • Financial and investment analysts.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • Methodology
    • Model Assumptions
    • Variance from mobile operator financial disclosures
  • U.S. LTE Cost Estimates
    • U.S. Operators’ LTE Status
      • Verizon Wireless
      • AT&T Wireless
      • Sprint
      • T-Mobile US
      • U.S. Cellular
      • Other operators
  • U.S. LTE Subscriber Estimates & Forecast
    • U.S. Cellular Connections Growth
    • U.S. LTE Subscriber Growth
    • U.S. LTE Mobile Data Traffic Forecast
    • U.S. LTE Infrastructure Build Cost Forecast
    • U.S. LTE Infrastructure build spending by network component
    • U.S. LTE Densification Spending
    • U.S. LTE Network Operating Cost Forecast
    • U.S. LTE DAS and Outdoor Small Cell Operating Cost
    • U.S. Total LTE Network Cost Forecast
  • Major LTE Infrastructure Vendor Profiles
    • Airspan Networks
    • Airvana
    • Alcatel-Lucent
    • American Tower
    • Argela
    • Cisco
    • ClearSky Technologies
    • Crown Castle
    • Ericsson
    • Fujitsu Network Communications
    • Gemtek
    • Huawei
    • ip.access
    • Juni
    • Juniper Networks
    • NEC
    • Nokia Networks
    • Oracle
    • Public Wireless
    • Quortus
    • Ruckus Wireless
    • Samsung Electronics
    • SBA Communications Corporation (SBA)
    • Sercomm
    • SpiderCloud Wireless
    • Taqua
    • ZTE Corporation
  • Definitions
    • General
    • Device Types
    • Services
    • Network Technology
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Forecasted U.S. Cellular Connections Growth, 2014-2019 (Millions)
  • Table 2: Assumed U.S. LTE Penetration of Total Connection Base, 2014-2019
  • Table 3: Average U.S. LTE Connections, 2014-2019 (Millions)
  • Table 4: Assumed Total U.S. LTE Network Usage, 2014-2019 (GB)
  • Table 5: U.S. LTE Infrastructure Build Spending, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Table 6: U.S. LTE Infrastructure Spending by Component, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Table7: Share of U.S. LTE Infrastructure Spending by Component, 2014-2019
  • Table 8: U.S. LTE Infrastructure Spending by Type of Cell, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Table 9: Share of U.S. LTE Infrastructure Spending by Type of Cell, 2014-2019
  • Table 10: U.S. LTE Network Operating Costs, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Table 11: U.S. LTE Operating Costs by Type of Cell, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Table 12: Share of U.S. LTE Operating Costs by Type of Cell, 2014-2019
  • Table 13: Total U.S. LTE Network Build and Operating Spending, 2014-2019 ($M, Total)

List of Charts and Figures

  • Figure A: Total U.S. LTE Infrastructure Build Spending, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure B: Percentage Breakdown of U.S. LTE Infrastructure Depreciated Spending, 2014-2019
  • Figure C: Share of U.S. LTE Infrastructure Spending by Component, 2014-2019
  • Figure D: U.S. Total LTE Network Operating Costs, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure E: Total U.S. LTE Network Build and Operating Spending, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure F: Total U.S. LTE Network Build Spending, 2014-2019 ($M) by type of cell
  • Figure G: Total U.S. LTE Network Operating Spending, 2014-2019 ($M) by type of cell
  • Figure H: Total U.S. LTE Network Build and Operating Spending, 2014-2019 ($M, Total)
  • Figure 1: Forecasted U.S. Cellular Connections Growth, 2014-2019 (Millions)
  • Figure 2: Assumed U.S. LTE Penetration of Total Connection Base, 2014-2019
  • Figure 3: Average U.S. LTE Connections, 2014-2019 (Millions)
  • Figure 4: Assumed Total U.S. LTE Network Usage, 2014-2019 (GB)
  • Figure 5: U.S. LTE Infrastructure Build Spending, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure 6: U.S. Total LTE Infrastructure Build Spending, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure 7: U.S. LTE Infrastructure Build Spending by Component, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure 8: Share of U.S. LTE Infrastructure Spending by Component, 2014-2019
  • Figure 9: U.S. LTE Infrastructure Spending by Type of Cell, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure 10: Share of U.S. LTE Infrastructure Spending by Type of Cell, 2014-2019
  • Figure 11: U.S. LTE Network Operating Costs, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure 12: U.S. Total LTE Network Operating Costs, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure 13: U.S. LTE Operating Costs by Type of Cell, 2014-2019 ($M)
  • Figure 14: Share of U.S. LTE Operating Costs by Type of Cell, 2014-2019
  • Figure 15: Total U.S. LTE Network Build and Operating Spending, 2014-2019 ($M, Total)
  • Figure 16: Alcatel-Lucent IP Mobile Core
  • Figure 17: Cisco Universal Small Cell Solution
  • Figure 18: Oracle Communications Security Gateway
  • Figure 19: SpiderCloud E-RAN System

For additional information on the U.S. LTE Network Infrastructure Spending Forecast, 2014-2019 market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.