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One Billion GSM Customers Worldwide
Posted: 23-Feb-2004 [Source: 3G Americas]

[GSM added 11 million new subscribers in the Americas Q4 2003 claiming 70% of new customer growth in the region.]

Cannes, France -- 3G Americas reports 100% annual growth for GSM in 2003, giving GSM by far the largest percentage gain of any wireless technology in the Western Hemisphere. Based on data from EMC, GSM is outpacing all other wireless technologies in Latin America, increasing its subscriber base by nearly 150% in 2003, almost six times more growth than the next most popular wireless technology. The rapid deployment of GSM/GPRS on a nationwide basis in Canada and the U.S. contributed to GSM's 77% growth in the North American market in 2003. GSM is the number one technology choice by new customers throughout North, Central and South America. Thus, the Americas have a growing presence in the global GSM community that now numbers one billion customers in the milestone announced today by leading GSM organizations and manufacturers in Cannes including 3G Americas, GSM Association, UMTS Forum, Alcatel, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Nortel Networks and Siemens.

GSM posted a solid fourth quarter 2003 adding more than 11 million subscribers in the Americas and claiming nearly 90% of the total new quarterly customers in the region. "In 2003, the Americas saw a proliferation of new and overlaid GSM networks emerge," stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "This growing footprint delivered GSM to many wireless customers and was further expanded through numerous roaming agreements between national and rural GSM operators." Pearson continued, "It is phenomenal to think that 9 out of 10 new customers in the region chose GSM in the fourth quarter of 2003 and we see that momentum continuing in 2004 as well as the uptake of EDGE third generation services."

Operators continue to select the GSM family of technologies - GSM, GPRS, EDGE and UMTS/WCDMA - for its combined benefits of economy of scale, voice capacity, advanced data capabilities, quality of service and global roaming. As evidence of this, 52 new GSM networks were launched in the Americas in the past year. Additionally, since mid-2001, 40 TDMA operators in the region began their GSM migrations and in 2003 four CDMA operators switched over to the GSM migration route.

Eva Benguigui, EMC's Latin America analyst, commented, "The decision taken by America Movil and Millicom International to deploy GSM across all their Latin American subsidiaries provides a great endorsement for the GSM technology and will lead to a significant increase in the GSM customer base in the region by the end of 2004." Analysis in EMC World Cellular Investors shows that during 2003, there was substantial consolidation in Latin America after several operators in the largest markets -- Argentina, Mexico and Brazil --were acquired by leading investors, such as America Movil. Benguigui continued, "Most of these acquisitions have resulted in GSM network overlays, for example in the cases of Telefonica Moviles in Mexico and CTI Movil in Argentina (both from CDMA), and BCP Nordeste (BSE) and BCP Sao Paulo in Brazil (both from TDMA). Also, where new PCS licenses were awarded in Colombia, Ecuador and Honduras, two out of the three licensees chose GSM, contributing significantly to the growth of the technology in the region."


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