3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the GSM family of technologies including LTE, today announced that GSM-HSPA is expected to reach 4 billion mobile connections worldwide in September 2009. This marks a major milestone for the industry, as no other technology innovation has ever reached a scale remotely close to its penetration level -- equivalent to more than six of every ten people worldwide.
"Automobiles and telephones, followed by televisions and personal computers, have undeniably changed the world and have greatly shaped the way in which we live our lives," said Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "Wireless mobile telephony substantially exceeds the impact of any one of these major innovations. In some countries, wireless penetration levels are exceeding 100 percent, as now, not only people, but machines, are connected through GSM technology, available today on nearly 800 networks in 219 countries worldwide."
In today's global economy, which is overshadowed by recession, it is impressive to note that in the Americas region the take-up of the 3GPP evolution from GSM to HSPA grew by more than 19 percent in the year ending June 2009 (2Q) to 561 million subscribers with a market share of 72 percent. Globally, GSM-HSPA grew by 20 percent adding nearly 645 million new connections in the same 12 months.
Equally noteworthy is the increasing number of 3G subscribers for UMTS-HSPA which has captured an annual worldwide gain of 57 percent in the year ending June 2009, according to Informa Telecoms & Media's World Cellular Information Service. With 377 million subscriptions worldwide at the end of second quarter 2009, UMTS-HSPA added more than 137 million new connections in 12 months.
The Latin America and Caribbean region continues to experience a remarkable growth curve for subscriptions to GSM-HSPA technologies. In fact, at the end of second quarter 2009, CDMA mobile technologies saw a decline in subscriptions while GSM technologies grew at an annual rate of 22 percent to more than 433 million connections with a 90 percent share of market.
"Mobile broadband growth is most notable in Latin America where fixed broadband access remains limited," said Eva Benguigui, Senior Research Analyst for Informa Telecoms and Media. "Mobile operators are seeing the opportunity to use recently deployed third generation (3G) networks as a way of diversifying their revenue streams and connecting millions for whom an Internet connection has until recently been out of reach."
Today, there are 49 UMTS-HSPA networks commercially deployed throughout 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Worldwide, 277 commercial networks offer HSPA in 116 countries. Additionally, 11 networks have been upgraded to HSPA+. According to Informa, by the year 2012, UMTS-HSPA will reach a milestone of one billion subscribers.