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Over 230,000 New Base Stations to Be Added Next Year in the Four Largest Emerging Markets

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While many sectors of the economy are languishing in the global recession, wireless infrastructure is relatively healthy. This also holds true in the world's major "emerging markets." Base station deployment continues in many countries, and the four largest markets Brazil, Russia, India, and China, known collectively as the "BRIC" group are expected to see more than 230,000 of them being deployed during 2010.

"The emerging markets present a complex picture which is difficult to generalize," notes ABI Research senior analyst Aditya Kaul. "By 2014, 2G technologies (primarily GMS, GPRS, EDGE) will still make up 30-50% of wireless infrastructure deployments in the BRIC markets. In regions such as the Middle East and Africa it will be as high as 80%. However, with 3G penetration still low or nonexistent in most of these countries, 3G will be a major driver of infrastructure spending."

Market drivers in the developing world differ from those of advanced industrial nations: voice will continue to be the key application. This does not mean that voice subscriber ARPUs will be any better in these regions, rather it's a question of volume: with their huge populations, countries like India and China can still provide sufficient revenue streams to operators.

Not surprisingly developing Asia, propelled by the giant Indian and Chinese markets, offers the largest opportunity. "But," says Kaul, "led by Brazil, Latin America is growing surprisingly fast, with 3G deployments taking place ahead of most other emerging markets. Mobile WiMAX, while facing problems in North America, is seeing major activity in countries such as Brazil, Russia and India, and ABI Research expects healthy growth in these markets."

Eastern Europe is a special case: last year consumer demand made it one of the most explosively-growing markets for 3G, but the global recession has stopped that momentum in its tracks.

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