3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the GSM family of technologies including LTE, today announced that GSM-HSPA has captured 72% of the entire cellular market in the Western Hemisphere. This represents a 6% increase in market share since the first quarter of 2008, according to Informa Telecoms & Media's World Cellular Information Service. With nearly 555 million subscriptions in the Americas at the end of the first quarter of 2009, GSM achieved an annual growth of 25%, adding 110 million new connections in 12 months.
On a global basis, GSM and UMTS-HSPA added 680.7 million subscriptions in the year ending March 2009, representing 89% global share of market and annual growth of 22%, according to Informa. There were 4.16 billion wireless cellular connections worldwide at the end of the first quarter of which 3.7 billion are GSM-HSPA connections.
Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas stated, "Even in these challenging economic times, GSM-HSPA operators are adding significant numbers of subscribers. Operators continue to invest in evolving networks to 3G services and beyond to meet the growing mobile broadband demand by their customers."
Informa reported 329 million UMTS-HSPA subscriptions as of March 2009, already 8% of the global wireless market. This number will exceed 474 million by the end of 2009, according to the analyst firm's forecasts, and one billion in the year 2012. There are 284 commercial UMTS-HSPA networks today, including four operators who have already deployed HSPA+ with peak theoretical throughput speeds of 21 Mbps on the downlink.
With more than 120 operators expected to someday deploy Long Term Evolution (LTE), the next step in the 3GPP evolution for GSM operators, several commercial contracts have already been awarded.
Chris Pearson commented, "'All roads lead to LTE' is rapidly becoming the market reality as both 3GPP and non-3GPP operators plan their commercial LTE networks. There are a total of 16 expected commercial deployments of LTE by GSM-HSPA and CDMA operators within the next 20 months."
The Latin America and Caribbean region is showing significant growth as the GSM family of technologies' market share nears 90% -- a 6% increase over the last 12 months. The GSM family of technologies added 99 million subscriptions in the Latin America and Caribbean region as of March 2009, with the total subscriber base of 428 million for GSM-HSPA.
"It has been less than two and a half years since the first commercial launch of HSDPA services in Latin America and the Caribbean, and today EDGE and HSPA networks are available in 23 countries in the region," stated Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 3G Americas. "There are already more than 6 million subscriptions for UMTS-HSPA; operators are experiencing an increase in their data revenues as a result, and customers are enjoying the added benefits of mobile broadband with good coverage, high speeds, and a full portfolio of sophisticated devices and applications."