3G Americas announced that more than 100 operators in 63 countries from all regions of the world are in various stages of readiness for EDGE high-speed wireless data technology to provide wireless customers with an array of next generation services and applications. Combined, these 108 operators represent hundreds of millions of customers in their current subscriber base.
Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas stated, "These operators have an EDGE on the wireless world by choosing to deploy third generation EDGE technology." He continued, "Operators' commitments to EDGE have steadily grown over the past 18 months and today there are 28 operators with live commercial mobile broadband networks including nationwide launches in the United States, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands and Bahrain."
In addition to the 28 operators offering commercial 3G EDGE services to customers, there are 32 operators who are actively deploying EDGE, 33 planned EDGE deployments, 8 operators with EDGE-capable networks, and 7 other operators with EDGE networks reported in the trial phase.
Pearson added, "EDGE has achieved critical mass based on world geographic coverage, POPs, number of subscribers within these operators' networks, as well as the scope of devices and infrastructure. Considering the compatibility of EDGE devices with UMTS and GPRS, EDGE has immeasurable advantages building on the foundation of more than one billion plus customers in the GSM technology family."
In North America, AT&T Wireless was the first GSM operator to announce plans for EDGE deployment in November 2001 and today has the fastest nationwide wireless data service in the U.S. available to more than 220 million people and has commercially deployed EDGE in Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico. Cingular Wireless was first to commercially launch an EDGE network in June 2002 and plans for a nationwide U.S. EDGE rollout by September 2004. T-Mobile USA is the third nationwide operator in the U.S. planning to deploy EDGE. Rogers Wireless has launched EDGE in Canada.
EDGE networks offering commercial services in key markets of Latin America include CTI Movil (Argentina), Claro (Brazil), Telefonica Moviles (Chile and Mexico), and TIM Brazil. Throughout the western hemisphere, there are 46 operators in 26 countries who are in various stages of readiness to deploy EDGE.
As evidence that EDGE is not merely an Americas technology, EDGE has been commercially launched in four Asian countries, 10 countries in Europe and the Middle East, and even Algeria, Africa. TIM Italy was the first European operator to announce a complementary deployment strategy with EDGE and UMTS (WCDMA) and in May 2004 announced the commercial availability of its combined EDGE-UMTS network. TIM Italy cites the increased capacity derived by deploying EDGE as critical to their business plan. Globally, fifteen EDGE and UMTS complementary deployments have been announced to date including AT&T Wireless and Cingular.
With EDGE technology, multinational companies and business travelers can use a single device offering tri-band service while traveling internationally to many countries and receive either EDGE service where available or GPRS service for their data connections. EDGE customers can expect to receive average data speeds between 110-130 kbps, with bursts to 200 kbps, when using an EDGE modem card in a laptop, and several EDGE handsets are available that can also be used as modems for wireless connections