European Mobile Network Investment Has Fallen 67%

[IMG]There's a reason European regulators are worried about next generation network investment. By some estimates, investment in mobile networks in Europe, since 2004, will have fallen 67 percent. 

The biggest challenge is lagging investment in Long Term Evolution, the next generation of mobile networks, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

Some will point out that the disparity is caused, in substantial part, by the experience European mobile service providers had when they invested heavily in 3G spectrum and networks, only to discover that the generated revenue did not match the investment costs. 

There is little doubt that European 4G investment lags levels seen in the United States and Japan. 

European LTE spending, on a per-subscriber basis, is half that of the United States and of Japan, BCG says. 

That accounts for LTE adoption that is less than one percent of mobile connections in Europe at year-end 2012, compared with 11 percent in the United States and 28 percent for South Korea. 

In fact, it would not be wrong to say most of the world's LTE subscribers are in just three countries: the United States, South Korea and Japan. 

The situation is not much better for fiber access, according to David Dean, Boston Consulting Group senior partner and Alan Marcus, BCG senior director.

Service providers say policies designed to promote competition, especially promoting robust wholesale access on incumbent networks for third party competitors, has succeeded. But the cost of that success is a vastly-reduced climate for new investment, so long as the robust wholesale requiresments are maintained. 

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