Big data goes mobile: the digital infrastructure

Big data goes mobile: the digital infrastructure

21-11-2017 | インサイト

Given the upcoming tsunami of data, our mobile communication infrastructure has to evolve towards 5G. For operators of this infrastructure, which consists of very tangible antenna towers, data centers and fiber, this upgrade will significantly improve their return prospects.

  • Vera Krückel
    Vera
    Krückel
    Analyst Global Equities team
  • Folmer Pietersma
    Folmer
    Pietersma
    Portfolio Manager

Speed read

  • The mobile communication infrastructure will be faced with huge amounts of data
  • 5G is necessary to deal with this 
  • Operators of infrastructure assets should benefit

A lot has been written about the digitization of our world and the impact on the way we communicate. Our total data consumption has increased a stunning 4,000-fold over the last decade - and we are still expecting substantial growth to come. A widely quoted study from Cisco estimates a dazzling average growth rate of 25% per year in total internet traffic until 2020. For mobile data traffic the numbers are even more staggering: Cisco works with a predicted compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50%+ between 2015 and 2020.

Our hunger for data is pretty much insatiable. Newer applications such as video content streaming, augmented reality or connected cars, use massive amounts of data. The underlying network infrastructure, which makes all this data traffic possible, is crucially important to enable pretty much everything that we do online. An extensive number of components have to seamlessly work together for us not to take notice: antenna towers; hyper-efficient data centers and last but not least lots and lots of underground fiber or copper miles that connect everything; including our continents through massive subsea cables.

This global communications infrastructure has been built over the course of decades at a cost that approaches USD 2 trillion. And clearly, for our infrastructure to keep up with many of the envisioned future applications, we need further investments. How much that is going to be is not clear yet. Just a few hints: Qualcomm calls it the 1000x challenge (…!), Europe has called for EUR 600-700 billion of investments just to catch up with the US and Asia, while Accenture estimates the US needs to spend USD 275 billion to make the 5th generation of mobile networks a reality.

最新の「インサイト」を読む
最新の「インサイト」を読む
配信登録

The mobile infrastructure needs an upgrade to 5G

Our digital infrastructure needs to evolve in response to huge amounts of mobile data and especially the multitude of new applications with very diverging requirements. In order to prevent our digital networks from looking like L.A. at rush hour - congested and standing still - an upgrade to 5G is needed. To deliver on the many promises this fifth generation of mobile communication is supposed to bring, we think our infrastructure needs to evolve and redesign by:

  1. Moving intelligence to the edges of the network (decentralization)
  2. Facilitating a heterogeneous environment in which different layers of infrastructure can co-exist to fulfill diverging future needs
  3. Standardizing and pooling hardware to dynamically allocate traffic over the combined infrastructure and optimize the use of existing capacity

For this to work most efficiently, we expect an increasing trend towards outsourcing of the three main components of the digital infrastructure. This means that we expect telecom operators to increasingly farm out radio antenna towers, data centers and fiber routes to independent third-party owners. As the economics of network sharing will become greater, more carriers can be convinced to divest or use joint venture structures for infrastructure assets. Consolidation activity will pick up to share the capital spending burden for the 5G roll-out. Just as with traditional real estate, owning real assets in mobile infrastructure will be increasingly done by specialized investment vehicles.

Data creation decentralizes with cameras and sensors everywhere

In the past, content was created and stored centrally and then consumed at the outer edges of a network. We would browse a webpage or download a Netflix video from a remote data center onto our mobile devices. This is changing. Ever more users are uploading YouTube videos and are keeping each other updated with short videos on Facebook or Snapchat rather than with text. Connected cars will generate massive amounts of data through their sensors and cameras.

This more decentralized distribution of content will lead to a development at the edge of the network. Urban or micro data centers will emerge, as much will move closer to the end user. The outer layers of the network will become more intelligent rather than relying on the core network.

Operators of infrastructure assets can benefit in many ways. Tower companies will enjoy significant leverage of their existing infrastructure assets. At the base of the towers, they might have the right locations for micro data centers. Similarly, interconnection data centers will benefit from their location closer to the edge. Lastly, fiber network operators – the linking pin of everything – will become ever more important. There are beneficiaries in other sectors as well; think of telecom communication equipment manufacturers, data networking companies, or antenna, chip and sensor manufacturers.

Leave your details and download the white paper

This white paper is not available for users from countries where the offering of foreign financial services is not permitted, such as US citizens and residents

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

ご契約に際しては、必要に応じ専門家にご相談の上、最終的なご判断はお客様ご自身でなさるようお願い致します。

運用を行う資産の評価額は、組入有価証券等の価格、金融市場の相場や金利等の変動、及び組入有価証券の発行体の財務状況による信用力等の影響を受けて変動します。また、外貨建資産に投資する場合は為替変動の影響も受けます。運用によって生じた損益は、全て投資家の皆様に帰属します。したがって投資元本や一定の運用成果が保証されているものではなく、投資元本を上回る損失を被ることがあります。弊社が行う金融商品取引業に係る手数料または報酬は、締結される契約の種類や契約資産額により異なるため、当資料において記載せず別途ご提示させて頂く場合があります。具体的な手数料または報酬の金額・計算方法につきましては弊社担当者へお問合せください。

当資料及び記載されている情報、商品に関する権利は弊社に帰属します。したがって、弊社の書面による同意なくしてその全部もしくは一部を複製またはその他の方法で配布することはご遠慮ください。

商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会