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Network operator capex to hit $591B in 2025

This commentary explains the network spending forecast update issued in August 2021, comparing it to the forecast published in December 2020 (“Network operator capex to hit $520B in 2025”). This forecast revision is modest: market dynamics are largely as we predicted in December 2020, and most projections are on track. However, some changes have occurred.
  • Webscale continues to grow rapidly and record high profits. Webscalers are getting a boost from the lingering of COVID-19, with work and study from home becoming a long-term reality in many markets. Key cloud players are boosting capex outlook due to data center expansion, and also spending more rapidly on non-tech avenues like logistics and fulfillment. (See “Webscale Network Operators: 1Q21 Market Review”).
  • There is strong private equity interest in the carrier-neutral sector, with a focus on data centers. We discuss this in our July 2021 report, “Tomorrow’s carrier-neutral operators to integrate tower, fiber and data center assets.” The increased PE interest in carrier-neutral models is enticing more telco asset spinoffs...
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Best regards,
Matt Walker
Chief Analyst