No more penny pinching: Wireless carriers’ capital expenditure to surge in 2018


“Indications suggest 2018 is going to be a big year for telecom-related spending,” wrote the analysts at Wall Street Research firm Barclays. Specifically, the analysts said they expect capital expenditures among the “big four” (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint) to rise by 10 percent in 2018, which they said would be the largest increase in the past five years. That growth is likely to be driven mainly by AT&T and Sprint. Both companies have made it clear that they are getting ready to open their purse strings in order to grow their respective network strategies.

For Sprint, the carrier’s significant increase in network spending is mostly due to a renewed commitment to the carrier by Japanese parent SoftBank. And AT&T’s increase is due in part to savings from the government’s recent tax reform and partly due to its own pledge to build out FirstNet’s 700 MHz spectrum for public safety users. Nonetheless, it’s clear that “that the tides are turning in the U.S. market,” said Dell’Oro Group analyst Stefan Pongratz.

No more penny pinching: Wireless carriers’ capex to surge in 2018