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Half a Billion GSM/UMTS Subscriptions in the Americas by End of Year
Posted: 07-Mar-2008 [Source: 3G Americas]

[3G Americas announces over half a billion GSM subscribers in the Americas by year's end including EDGE and UMTS/HSPA according to forecasts by Informa Telecoms & Media.]

Bellevue, WA -- 3G Americas today announced that by the end of 2008, there will be more than half a billion mobile wireless subscriptions to the GSM technology family including EDGE and UMTS/HSPA in the Americas, according to forecasts by Informa Telecoms & Media. Tremendous growth was posted in the year 2007, as the GSM family of technologies once again grew its market share as the number one mobile wireless technology in the Western Hemisphere, with a 64% regional share of market.

GSM is the only technology deployed in every country in the Americas, and continues its upward course in the number of subscriptions and share of market. In 2007, there were 110 million additional subscriptions for the GSM technology family in the Western Hemisphere, totaling nearly 420 million GSM/UMTS subscriptions. It is forecast by Informa that GSM/UMTS subscriptions in the Western Hemisphere will substantially increase, reaching 636 million by the end of 2012, including 186 million subscriptions for UMTS/HSPA mobile broadband service.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, GSM continues to be the preferred technology, adding over 95 million subscriptions in the past twelve months alone. This brings the total to nearly 307 million subscriptions with a wireless market share of 80%, up 13 percentage points from 65% at the same time last year. Emerging markets in Venezuela and Peru exemplify this rapid uptake of GSM technology, with 168% and 112% annual growth, respectively.

Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 3G Americas, emphasized, "3G HSDPA commercial networks are rapidly being deployed throughout the region, from Central America to the Caribbean, South America and the South Cone. As of February 2008, there were already 18 commercial HSDPA networks launched in 11 countries." He continued, "These new HSDPA networks will enhance the customer's wireless data experience by enabling robust value added services."

There are more than 700 GSM operators in service across 220 countries. This includes over 265 EDGE deployments worldwide, demonstrating the winning combination of coverage, speed, devices, and low latency provided by the ever-growing GSM-based technology. 3G services provided by the GSM family's roaming-capable, backwards-compatible UMTS/HSPA networks are being delivered across the world as well, with 211 UMTS commercial networks in service, up from 155 at the same time last year. The number of HSDPA networks worldwide has nearly doubled from last year, with 182 networks commercial, including 31 with HSUPA enhanced uplink capabilities. (3G Americas refers to these 31 networks as HSPA networks.)

Globally, GSM/UMTS gained over 622 million subscriptions in 2007, bringing the total number of subscriptions to more than 2.9 billion worldwide and capturing 87% of the global mobile wireless market. Informa Telecoms & Media predicts half a billion UMTS/HSPA subscriptions globally by the end of this year. By 2012, Informa forecasts that the 3G wireless market will include a total of 1.7 billion subscriptions, of which 1.3 billion will be UMTS/HSPA with a 78% share of market.

Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas, commented, "Operators and customers around the world are benefiting from their move to 3G. As customers' demand for anytime, anywhere access increases, operators can now provide more voice capacity and enhanced data throughput, while reaping the growing revenues that result from data services."

AT&T's (US) wireless data revenues increased nearly 67% in the past year, while Rogers in Canada experienced a wireless data revenue increase of more than 48% for the same time period. At end of year 2007, T-Mobile USA recorded data ARPU at nearly 16% of blended ARPU.

Pearson continued, "From these statistics, we can see that the transition to mobile broadband is making a huge positive impact on all players in the value chain."

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