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The rapidly growing digital adoption trends being experienced across the world are set to generate an enormous investment drive that will see some USD 400 billion of annual capex to meet digital infrastructure demand over 10 years. 

According to Marc Ganzi, president and chief executive officer of DigitalBridge, who opened the PTC’22: Reunite. Rethink. Renew. center stage sessions in Honolulu, there is a “massive opportunity.”

“We are very excited about the demand trends today. Our sector is transforming right now. I have been doing this since the early 1990s, and this is one of the most exciting years in digital infrastructure,” he told the audience.

“The old way of investing and building digital infrastructure was a very siloed and myopic approach to investing. You had to be captive in one swim lane whether it was tower, data center, fiber, or small cell infrastructure that was really oriented at mobile networks and enterprise compute.

“Today, I would offer to you that the world is changing. It was changing pre-pandemic, it is forever changed in the midstream of the pandemic, and it will continue to change post-pandemic. The secular trends that we’re investing in for the next decade are pretty simple: it is the same things that all of you are investing in today.”

Ganzi added that there is USD 1.3 trillion of global data center capex “being spent right now” amid an “unprecedented amount of demand for hyperscale and cloud providers.”

In the mobile space, especially within 5G, DigitalBridge estimates as much as USD 1.1 trillion will be deployed up to 2025.

“Mobile capex will be persistent and it’ll be long over the next five years,” Ganzi said. “We actually believe that 5G is an eight-year build. We just started building 5G last year. We believe by 2028, 5G networks will be about 90% penetrated and built. This is almost USD 1 trillion of capex. Obviously North America leads the way but as you can see APAC, Europe, and other parts of the world are also equal contributors in terms of that capex that needs to be spent.

“It is not only just data centers and mobile infrastructure, but the entire ecosystem is growing. We believe over USD 400 billion of annual capex will be needed to meet the demands of future network infrastructure. This is in connection with mobile, cloud, enterprise colocation, and edge capex.

“There is also an addition to that around fiber, small cells, and other forms of digital infrastructure investment. This is a massive opportunity and it is a huge opportunity for everyone.”

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