SOURCE: 3G Americas

March 01, 2007 05:00 ET

GSM Technologies Lead the Way

Nearly 310 Million GSM Customers in the Western Hemisphere

BELLEVUE, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 1, 2007 -- 3G Americas today announced that the GSM family of technologies again took the largest market share in the mobile wireless industry in 2006, with 100 million new GSM subscriptions in the Western Hemisphere, including more than 27 million new subscribers in the 4Q alone. GSM continues to be the number one mobile wireless technology in the Western Hemisphere, with nearly 310 million customers, and is the only mobile wireless technology available in every country of the region.

The GSM family of technologies achieved significant milestones in 2006 throughout the Americas:

--  HSDPA service reaches not only the US, but also Canada, Puerto Rico
    and Chile
--  GSM attains an market share of 56% in the Western Hemisphere and
    growing
--  EDGE is available through 59 operators in 24 countries
    

Globally, GSM's net additions in 2006 far exceed the entire customer base of any other mobile wireless technology. In the past year, GSM gained 461 million new customers worldwide, compared to 48 million CDMA customers, according to estimates by Informa Telecoms & Media. In Latin America, GSM grew its subscriber base by more than 81 million customers, surpassing the 200 million customer mark, while CDMA added 6 million customers for a total customer base of approximately 62 million.

There are over 700 GSM operators in service worldwide across 220 countries. This includes over 208 EDGE deployments worldwide, which highlights the winning combination of coverage, speed, devices, and low latency provided by the still-growing technology. The GSM family's 3G services are being delivered across the world as well, with 155 UMTS commercial networks in service, 97 of which have already deployed HSDPA.

"GSM was widely successful throughout Latin America again this year, especially in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. Brazil ended 2006 with 63 million GSM users, while Mexico ended with 43 million GSM users and Argentina and Colombia with more than 25 million GSM users each. These 4 countries represent an amazing 75% of the 208 million GSM users in Latin America and the Caribbean at the end of 2006," commented Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 3G Americas. "CDMA to GSM migrations in the region are likely one of the many causes for this outstanding growth. Also, the recent availability of low cost GSM mobile phones in the region will enable more customers to have an affordable, high quality means of communication."

The GSM family of technologies has progressed in every facet in Latin America GSM growth, EDGE deployments and UMTS trials and launches.

"Even though the Latin America region is reaching levels of maturity on its mobile penetration rate, this region will show a significant growth in the GSM subscription family over the next three to five years," according to Eva Benguigui, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media. She continued, "According to Informa's latest forecast, by 2010 there will be over 150 million additional GSM subscriptions and over 25 million UMTS subscriptions in Latin America."

In the United States and Canada during 2006, the GSM family added the largest percentage of customers, resulting in over 19 million customers added in 2006 compared to 13 million CDMA users. GSM's North American growth rate of 24% was double the CDMA growth rate of 12% in that region for the year.

Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas stated, "The GSM family of technologies made significant progress on every front in 2006 including technical advancements, market growth and standards evolution. I look forward to the continued success in 2007 and beyond."

Subscriber data is based on figures from Informa Telecoms & Media. For charts on GSM growth visit 3G Americas' website at: http://www.3gamericas.org/English/statistics/index.cfm.

About 3G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Wireless Technology

The mission of 3G Americas is to promote and facilitate the seamless deployment throughout the Americas of GSM and its evolution to 3G and beyond. The organization fully supports the Third Generation (3G) technology migration strategy to EDGE and UMTS/HSPA adopted by many operators in the Americas that is expected to account for up to 85% of next-generation customers worldwide. 3G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, WA with an office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Dallas, TX. For more information, visit our website at www.3gamericas.org.

3G Americas' Board of Governors includes: Alcatel-Lucent, Andrew Corporation, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, Ericsson, Gemalto, HP, Motorola, Nortel Networks, Nokia, Openwave, Research in Motion (RIM), Rogers Wireless (Canada), T-Mobile USA, Telcel (Mexico), Telefonica Internacional SA, and Texas Instruments.

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

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