3G Americas reported that GSM is now the number one mobile wireless technology in the entire Latin America and Caribbean region, based on Informa Telecoms & Media's market projections for the first quarter of 2005. There are nearly 100 GSM operators with networks deployed in every country of the region serving an estimated 73 million customers.
"GSM, the last wireless digital technology to be deployed in the region, has progressed at an astonishing rate to first place in terms of total subscribers as of the first quarter of this year," explains Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "This phenomenal growth will only continue with the recent announcement by the GSM Association of the low cost $40 GSM phone." Pearson continued, "The GSM family of technologies are a perfect fit for Latin America, providing not only advanced wireless data services over EDGE networks, but also the scale and scope for affordable high quality communications for all demographics."
For March 2005, projected wireless market share for GSM in Latin America and the Caribbean is 39%; followed by TDMA at 35% with 66 million customers; and lastly CDMA with 24% with 46 million customers (iDEN and analog each represent about 1% market share).
Eva Benguigui, Senior Analyst for Latin America at Informa Telecoms & Media noted that, "Based upon projections from our World Cellular Information Service, GSM subscriber numbers surpassed TDMA numbers to make GSM the leading technology in the Latin America and Caribbean region as of March 2005. The growth of GSM is attributable to many factors including the nearly unanimous selection of GSM as the evolution technology for TDMA operators as well as Greenfield and newly licensed operators in the region."
According to Informa projections, there were 11.5 million GSM additions in the first quarter of 2005 for Latin America and the Caribbean, compared to 3.3 million CDMA additions and a loss of about 300,000 TDMA customers. GSM growth was close to four times more than CDMA growth in the same time period. The shrinking trend in the TDMA customer base was first measured in the region in 4Q 2004.
The GSM evolution to third generation is through EDGE and/or UMTS, both global standards for high-speed wireless data services that can deliver a combination of the best cost efficiencies and technology benefits. EDGE is currently deployed by 18 operators in Latin America and the Caribbean and is available on nearly all GSM terminals being manufactured today at virtually no additional cost. The value for GSM customers is the ability to access third generation wireless data services at the most competitive market price with the option for global roaming.
UMTS is the world's leading third generation standard which has been launched by Cingular Wireless in the United States. EDGE and UMTS are complementary technologies and many GSM operators will deploy both technologies within their networks. There are 63 UMTS networks commercially deployed in 31 countries of the world today. Additionally, today there are 13 pre-commercial UMTS networks in 10 countries worldwide.