SOURCE: 3G Americas

March 05, 2009 11:59 ET

2008 Third Consecutive Year With More Than 100 Million New Mobile Connections for GSM-HSPA in Western Hemisphere

25 Million Total UMTS-HSPA Mobile Broadband Connections in Americas

BELLEVUE, WA--(Marketwire - March 5, 2009) - 3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the GSM family of technologies including LTE, today reports that GSM-HSPA technology continues its momentum throughout the Western Hemisphere, adding more than 100 million new connections for the third consecutive year (ending December 31, 2008). The GSM family of technologies totaled 525 million subscriptions in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean at the end of December, having passed the milestone of half a billion subscriptions in October 2008. This brings the increasing market share in the region to 70% according to data from Informa Telecoms & Media.

At the end of 2008, UMTS-HSPA 3G wireless subscriptions numbered nearly 25 million in the Americas, which more than doubled the 9 million subscriptions at the end of 2007. Today there are 48 commercial UMTS-HSPA networks throughout the Western Hemisphere and networks are being expanded and upgraded to advanced HSPA versions providing peak theoretical HSPA mobile broadband downlink rates of 7.2 Mbps.

"The success of GSM in the Americas since the first 3 million subscriptions were recorded in December of 1998 has been phenomenal when you look at the 525 million connections counted at the end of 2008," said Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "We are seeing not only continued growth for GSM in terms of increasing penetration and market share, but operators who continue to invest in their 3G networks and beyond. The value in HSPA mobile broadband is evident with increased voice capacity and the rise in data revenues due to enhanced applications."

On a worldwide basis, GSM totals 3.5 billion of the nearly 4 billion mobile subscriptions or 89% share of market at the end of December 2008. With 278 UMTS-HSPA networks in service in 121 countries, there are 290 million UMTS-HSPA subscriptions as of the end of 2008 compared to 186 million a year earlier -- more than 100 million new 3G connections. UMTS-HSPA subscriptions are expected to more than double in 2009, according to Informa's forecasts, and reach 455 million connections by the end of this year.

Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 3G Americas expects that HSDPA will continue its adoption in the Latin and Caribbean markets, with 45 commercial HSDPA networks already in 22 countries, and operators in the region heavily promoting Value Added Services with 3G networks to increase data revenues both from postpaid and prepaid users. "Economic uncertainty is being felt around the world, and Latin America will not be immune to this impact. However, we expect to see market growth in terms of penetration or share of market, and continued uptake of mobile broadband services by customers in the region to fulfill their entertainment, social and business daily needs."

Informa Telecoms & Media recorded 4.7 million UMTS-HSDPA connections in Latin America and the Caribbean at the end of 2008, an impressive gain over the 65 thousand connections only twelve months earlier.

For more information and to see a variety of statistical charts on the GSM family of technologies, visit www.3gamericas.org.

About Informa Telecoms & Media

Informa Telecoms & Media provides business intelligence and strategic services to the global telecoms and media markets. All of our products and services -- from news, trend analysis and forecasting to industry data, face-to-face events and training -- are driven by our deep understanding of the markets we serve and by our goal to help our clients make better business decisions. www.informatm.com

About 3G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Wireless Technology

3G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization's mission is to promote and facilitate the seamless deployment throughout the Americas of the GSM family of technologies, including LTE. 3G Americas has contributed to the successful commercial rollout of GSM across the Americas and its place as the number one technology in the region, as well as the global adoption of EDGE. The organization aims to develop the expansive wireless ecosystem of networks, devices, and applications enabled by GSM and its evolution to LTE. 3G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, WA with an office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Dallas, Texas. More information is available at www.3gamericas.org.

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