Worldwide, wireless subscriber growth is experiencing robust expansion after several years of slower growth due to the economic downturn of the last few years, reports In-Stat. By 2009, the high-tech market research firm forecasts the worldwide wireless market will grow to more than 2.3 billion subscribers. There will be no relief from the ongoing battles for airlink supremacy over the next several years.
"GSM's steady growth through 2007 will turn negative as operators move subscribers to third-generation (3G) WCDMA," said David Chamberlain, In-Stat senior analyst. "While the second-generation GSM system (including GPRS & EDGE) will remain the dominant airlink throughout the forecast period, CDMA airlink standards (CDMA & WCDMA) will soon encroach on GSM's numbers. By 2009, WCDMA networks will be providing service for over 40% of the world's CDMA users." However, those inroads are much less dramatic, Chamberlain pointed out, when classifying WCDMA as an evolution of the GSM system.
A recent report by In-Stat found the following:
* The total number of new subscribers in 2004-2009 is expected to be 777.7 million worldwide.
* While China continues to lead the world in overall subscriber growth, the percentage growth leaders continue to be found in other parts of Asia, particularly the southern Asia region that includes India. Nearly two-thirds of all new wireless users will be Asia.
* European subscriber growth will continue to slow, and will stall in Scandinavia and western Europe.
* Japan's rapid transition to 3G accounts for a great deal of the WCDMA growth in the short term.