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81% of Mobile Wireless Customers Use GSM
Posted: 31-Mar-2006 [Source: 3G Americas]

[3G Americas estimates 1.8 billion GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA users around the world in 213 countries.]

Bellevue, WA -- 3G Americas reported today that 81% of all mobile digital wireless customers worldwide use the GSM family of technologies -- GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA. In fact, from fourth quarter 2004 to fourth quarter 2005, GSM grew by more than 400 million subscribers, compared to the total base of 291 million CDMA customers at year end 2005. Today, there are an estimated 1.8 billion customers in 213 countries around the world using various evolutions of the GSM technology, all with the potential for worldwide roaming.

Operators continue to embrace the evolution to next generation UMTS and HSDPA technologies in order to drive down their cost, and improve the efficiency of delivering voice and advanced wireless data services to customers. UMTS is commercially deployed by 103 operators in 47 countries with an additional 93 operators in 23 other countries that have made significant UMTS announcements (including 4 pre-commercial, 61 planned/in deployment, 8 licenses awarded and 20 in-trial). There are more than 250 UMTS devices provided to the market to date, with an increasing number of devices earmarked for North American customers.

HSDPA has been deployed by ten operators in the past four months, since Cingular Wireless first deployed HSDPA in the United States in December 2005, and there are 71 additional operators publicly committed to deployment. HSDPA has gained considerable momentum and it is expected that all UMTS operators will deploy HSDPA.

Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas, stated, "GSM has more to offer the world than strength in numbers and economic advantages. At CTIA, the largest cellular wireless show in North America, numerous exhibitors will showcase the technical advancements of the GSM family of technologies. The momentum of GSM and its evolution to 3G and beyond continues in 2006."

Pearson continued, "There is early evidence of our prediction that nearly all UMTS operators will evolve their networks to HSDPA. In the past 30 days, we have seen six HSDPA launches, and I expect this trend to continue in 2006 and 2007."

"The GSM family of technologies is a proven success in the Americas region," commented Vicki Livingston, Director of Marketing, 3G Americas. "GSM is the #1 mobile wireless technology in the region and the only mobile digital technology in every country of the Western Hemisphere. Add to that the power of EDGE technology, which is widely deployed throughout 18 countries by 37 operators in the Western Hemisphere, as well as the expectation of low cost GSM handsets for Latin America's emerging markets, and the GSM future continues to be promising."

Globally, there are 131 operators in 78 countries worldwide offering commercial EDGE service, and a total of 212 commitments covering 108 countries. More than 200 EDGE devices, including PC cards and mobile phones, have been offered throughout the world since EDGE was first commercialized.


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