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GSM customer bases doubles in Western Hemisphere
Posted: 27-May-2005 [Source: 3G Americas]

[GSM customer base in the Western Hemisphere grew from 65.9 million in Q1 2004 to 136.3 million Q1 2005.]

With subscriber results in from Informa Telecoms & Media's World Cellular Information Service for first quarter 2005, 3G Americas reports that the GSM customer base in the Western Hemisphere has more than doubled from 65.9 million in Q1 2004 to more than 136.3 million as of Q1 2005, an annual percentage growth of nearly 107%.

In addition, EDGE high-speed wireless data technology has been commercially deployed in 52 countries worldwide by operators with 478 million GSM customers on their networks. EDGE will be deployed as both a standalone 3G technology as well as a complementary technology to UMTS, which analysts predict will become the leading 3G wireless technology in the world.

"The successful results speak for themselves. GSM has accelerated wireless mobile penetration throughout the Americas region by offering the right mix of device selection and affordability, quality of service, coverage for voice and high-speed wireless data services, international roaming, and application variety for consumers and enterprises," stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "Now we are seeing a proliferation of EDGE devices, wide-scale coverage of EDGE networks, and enterprise solutions that are adding value to GSM customers."

Throughout the Americas, GSM continued as the preferred technology chosen by wireless customers. GSM added more than 19 million new customers in Q1 2005 in the region, more than any other wireless technology, including CDMA which added 6.4 million new customers during the quarter. Another highlight in the first quarter was GSM surpassing TDMA as the #1 technology in Latin America, ending the quarter with a total of more than 74 million customers, while TDMA and CDMA accounted for over 62 million and 45 million customers respectively. Latin America and the Caribbean remains the fastest growing region for both GSM and CDMA, with GSM gaining over 12 million new customers compared to 2.6 million new CDMA customers in the quarter.

Overall, wireless customers for all technologies in this region grew from 135 million in Q1 2004 to 187 million over this one-year period, with GSM accounting for 45.3 million of the region's net 52 million new wireless customers accumulated over the year. Wireless customers in the U.S. and Canada again chose GSM as the #1 technology in the first quarter as 6.9 million customers signed up for GSM compared to 3.8 million for CDMA.

"It is quite remarkable that as of Q1 2005, 91% of the new digital customers worldwide were GSM subscribers, helping the GSM market share worldwide to exceed 75.5% during Q1 2005," observed Ana Hermoso, North American and Caribbean Research Analyst for Informa Telecoms & Media Group. "CDMA has remained stable with over 12% of new subscriber additions during Q1 2004 and Q1 2005."

Hermoso continued, "In the North American region, the main growth in terms of number of net additions during Q1 2005 has been in GSM, with nearly 7 million subscribers, compared to CDMA's 3.8 million users. The 7 million net additions were 30% higher than the same period in 2004 whereas the number of CDMA additions fell slightly."

Globally, the GSM family of technologies continues its rapid evolution to 3G high-speed wireless data. EDGE is commercially available from 78 operators with another 90 operators in various stages of deployment. More than 100 EDGE devices are now available in the market. UMTS is now commercially available on nearly 70 networks in over 30 countries with nearly 150 devices in the market. As of Q1 2005, there are more than 22 million UMTS customers. Additionally, 47 operators in 32 countries have announced plans for deploying a complementary EDGE-UMTS network to capture the optimal business advantage; it is expected that most all UMTS operators will deliver EDGE in the future. EDGE technology offers operators a future-proof 3G deployment strategy to UMTS/HSDPA which utilizes the same core network.

UMTS networks enhanced with High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) will initially be deployed by Cingular Wireless in many major markets by the end of 2005, and similar deployments or trials have already been announced by no less than another 19 operators worldwide.

Data is based on figures from Informa Telecoms & Media. Charts on GSM growth as well as EDGE and UMTS deployment lists are available at 3G Americas' website: About 3G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Wireless Technology The mission of 3G Americas is to promote and facilitate the seamless deployment throughout the Americas of GSM and its evolution to 3G and beyond. The organization fully supports the Third Generation (3G) technology migration strategy to EDGE and UMTS/HSDPA adopted by many operators in the Americas that is expected to account for up to 85% of next-generation customers worldwide. 3G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, WA with an office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Dallas, TX. For more information, visit our website at


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