Key information from China released over the past two weeks indicate that China’s 4G LTE capital expenditures (capex) totaled $17.3 billion in 2018, which is 8.5 percent above the initial plan. Among the three Chinese service providers – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom – China Mobile was responsible for much of the increase in plan, spending $1.5 billion more than its initial plan released in March 2018.
With this hike in China’s capex, along with solid sustained infrastructure spending in Europe, Middle East, Africa and various countries in Asia, global 4G LTE infrastructure revenue was $22.9 billion in 2018.
Huawei finished 2018 with 31 percent market share in the global mobile infrastructure market, which includes 2G, 3G and 4G hardware macrocell networks. Huawei was followed by Ericsson with 27 percent and Nokia with 22 percent.
As always, March is an important month in China, as it is punctuated by full-year financial results and the release of guidance for the full calendar year from China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. Given the magnitude of telecom capex in China, everyone involved in the telecom ecosystem pays attention to what the three service providers say, particularly their plans for the year.