AT&T is doing its part to contribute to the total carrier capex in 2011. Infonetics Research says the nearly 6 percent increase in global telecom carrier capex it expects in 2011 over 2010 is due in large part to AT&T's ramping LTE deployments, HSPA+ upgrades and investments in Wi-Fi hotspots for traffic offload.

That offsets Verizon Wireless' slowing mobile spending since its LTE rollout peaked earlier this year.

Infonetics maintains that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe continues to have little impact on its telecom capex forecast.

Infonetics analyst Stephane Teral said that as long as credit remains available to telecoms at a fair price, the ongoing sovereign debt crisis should have little impact on telecom equipment spending. Investment plans across world regions suggest mobile broadband and FTTx is the "name of the game going forward," Teral said.

Here are some highlights from Infonetics' report:

  • In the 10 years from 2005 to 2015, telecom service provider revenue has shown, and will continue to show, year-over-year growth every year except in 2009.
  • Telecom carrier revenue is forecast to grow to U.S. $2.17 trillion in 2015, driven by mobile broadband.
  • The fastest-growing investment areas among telecom carriers in 2011 are WiMAX equipment (+27.5 percent) and video infrastructure (+20.7 percent).
  • The largest investment areas remain non-telecom/datacom equipment (software, real estate, labor, etc.) and mobile infrastructure, global spending for which is growing 7 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, in 2011 over 2010.
  • Asia Pacific will continue to be the largest telecom carrier capex region through 2015, driven by China Mobile, which ended 2010 as the world's largest mobile operator by revenue.
  • Wireless pure-play operators will grow to account for nearly one-third of all telecom carrier capex by 2015.