SOURCE: 3G Americas

December 21, 2006 05:00 ET

HSDPA Technology Deployed in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean

250 Global EDGE Commitments; 100 Million Global UMTS/HSDPA Customers; Over 300 Million GSM Customers in the Americas; 2.2 Billion Worldwide

BELLEVUE, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 21, 2006 -- 2006 is shaping up as a year of milestones for the GSM family of technologies. The rapid deployment of GSM's 3G technology evolution is continuing its momentum, with the recent announcement made by Chile's Entel PCS of their launch of UMTS/HSDPA, making Entel the first GSM operator in Latin America to achieve this commercial status. "It only took a little over a year for HSDPA to emerge in the markets of the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and now, Latin America," commented 3G Americas' president, Chris Pearson. "The deployment by Entel PCS cements the 3G foundation for the evolution of the GSM family of technologies throughout the Western Hemisphere."

Entel PCS in Chile launched the first commercial GSM network in Latin America in 1998 and only eight years later, GSM networks will likely represent nearly 70% of all digital wireless technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean by the end of 2006. As of mid-December, GSM has more than 300 million customers in all of the Western Hemisphere, according to estimates by Informa Telecoms & Media. GSM is also the number one wireless digital technology in the Western Hemisphere based on the number of customers and is available in every single country in the region.

Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean, stated, "The launches of UMTS/HSDPA by Cingular Wireless in Puerto Rico on November 30th of this year and by Entel PCS of Chile on December 13th are very important milestones for GSM in the Caribbean and Latin America." He continued, "These milestones are just the beginning of more UMTS/HSDPA commercial launches expected throughout this region in 2007 as GSM wireless operators begin to upgrade their networks and deploy 3G services to their customers."

EDGE was first deployed in the Americas and continues to make significant progress throughout the world achieving global scope and scale, with deployment commitments from more than 250 operators including 179 commercial networks in service in 94 countries today. Nearly all UMTS/HSDPA devices manufactured today have EDGE as the compatible fall back technology to allow for global roaming and delivery of 3G services.

UMTS is the leading 3G technology and it is estimated by Informa Telecoms and Media that there will be 103.6 million UMTS/HSDPA customers at the end of 2006 with nearly a billion subscribers projected by 2011. Today, global operator commitments to deploy UMTS number nearly 300, with 147 commercial UMTS deployments worldwide, and another 65 planned, in deployment, or in trial; 94 of those UMTS networks are currently upgraded to HSDPA, with 59 additional HSDPA networks planned, in deployment, or in trial.

As a result of deploying a larger variety of applications and services for high speed wireless data that is enabled by EDGE and UMTS/HSDPA, GSM operators across the Americas are reporting continually rising data ARPU (Average Revenue per User). For example, in Q3 2006, Cingular Wireless reported data ARPU at 12.7% of overall wireless ARPU, a 46% year-over-year increase since Q3 2005. T-Mobile USA reported Q3 2006 data revenues at 11.3% of blended ARPU, compared to 8.3% one year ago. For Rogers Wireless in Canada, data ARPU increased in Q3 2006 to 10.5% of total wireless revenue for the quarter and Telcel in Mexico ended Q3 2006 with 13% of revenue attributed to data services and expects continued growth.

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

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