SOURCE: 3G Americas

November 20, 2008 16:21 ET

Over 100 Million UMTS/HSPA Mobile Broadband Subscriptions Added Year-Over-Year

GSM/HSPA Passes Milestone in October With Half a Billion Subscriptions in Western Hemisphere

BELLEVUE, WA--(Marketwire - November 20, 2008) - 3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the GSM family of technologies including LTE, today reports that 3G UMTS/HSPA mobile broadband technology continues its momentum throughout the world, adding more than 100 million subscriptions in the twelve months ending in the third quarter 2008 -- achieving a significant milestone in subscriber additions. At the end of third quarter 2008, global GSM/HSPA wireless subscriptions were nearly 3.4 billion adding 688 million new subscriptions for the GSM family of technologies in one year and capturing an 88.5% share of market, according to industry research firm, Informa Telecoms & Media.

In the Western Hemisphere, the number of GSM/HSPA subscriptions continued to grow at an explosive rate, having reached 499 million subscriptions at the end of the third quarter and then passing the half a billion milestone in October. CDMA technologies registered 463 million total subscriptions worldwide as of third quarter 2008, according to the CDMA Development Group. In comparison, there are more GSM/HSPA connections in the Americas region than CDMA narrowband connections worldwide. The GSM family of technologies represents 69% share of market in North, Central and South America, and registered annual growth of 115 million subscriptions at the end of September 2008, an annual growth rate of 30%. Informa forecasts more than 628 million GSM/HSPA subscriptions in the Americas region by the end of 2010.

GSM operators throughout the Americas region continue to evolve their networks to UMTS/HSPA. To date, there are 39 commercial UMTS/HSPA networks in the Americas region in 19 countries. Worldwide, there are more than 256 commercial UMTS/HSPA networks in over 100 countries. Furthermore, these network operators have the choice of providing customers any number of the more than 950 UMTS/HSPA wireless devices that have been commercially launched.

"As evidenced by the subscriber growth numbers, the GSM family of technologies continues to provide the four key ingredients for mobile wireless success: Coverage, Technology Performance, Devices and Applications," stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "The UMTS/HSPA mobile broadband technology achieved a total of 262 million subscriptions at the end of September 2008, continuing in its ranking as the leader in high speed mobile broadband technology worldwide."

Wireless technologies in Latin America continue to expand tremendously with a total of 378 million GSM/HSDPA subscriptions and 87% share of market. CDMA subscriptions continue to decline and totaled 45 million as of 3Q 2008, down from 56 million one year earlier and now representing only 10% share of market.

"It's remarkable what has occurred in the transition of the GSM family of technologies to mobile broadband in Latin America and the Caribbean in only ten years," commented Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean. "In 1998, the first GSM network was deployed in the region, it took only five years before EDGE was commercially deployed in Chile in 2003, and three years later the first commercial UMTS/HSPA network was also deployed in Chile. In 2008, to complete this amazing 3G uptake, HSUPA was deployed in Uruguay and Brazil. Moving the needle from zero GSM subscribers in 1998, there were more than 377 million GSM/HSPA subscribers by the third quarter 2008. In less than two years the Latin America region has deployments of 36 commercial UMTS/HSPA networks in 17 countries."

"Equally impressive is the uptake of 3G services throughout the region driven by the phenomenal success of the HSPA-enabled USB dongle as a competitive fixed broadband alternative, both on speed and price. In many cases, it is indeed the only available broadband connection," continued Rojas.

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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