Monday, June 12, 2006

GSM Reaches Two Billion Subscriber Milestone

There are now two billion subscribers worldwide for the GSM family of technologies-GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS and HSDPA, according to 3G Americas and Informa Telecoms & Media. Globally, there are 2.29 billion cellular users encompassing all technologies, placing GSM as the dominant market leader.

Some highlights:

  • It took approximately twelve years to reach the first one billion GSM subscriptions (1192-2004), but only two and a half years to hit the next billion GSM/UMTS subscriptions

  • Latin America and the Caribbean led the world market percentage growth rate for GSM, adding more than 74 million new customers in the one year period from March 2005 to March 2006 -- nearly doubling their subscriber base with a growth rate of 97%.

  • The Middle East followed by Africa are the world regions with the next largest growth rates, respectively.

  • China continues to be the largest single market of GSM customers, with 662.6 million as of March 2006.

  • The trend of large CDMA and TDMA operators choosing to migrate their networks to the GSM family of technologies, with America Movil and Telefonica Moviles launching GSM networks in all their existing entities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Only two remaining Telefonica entities still have CDMA networks in operation. Additionally, in the past few years, both Telecom Italia (TIM) and Millicom International chose to migrate each of their five subsidiaries to a GSM network, as well as did numerous other operators, including Cable & Wireless throughout the Caribbean. In the U.S. and Canada, Cingular Wireless, T-Mobile USA and Rogers Wireless, as well as numerous rural and regional operators who have chosen GSM.

  • EDGE is commercially offered by 133 operators across 80 countries, including 31 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Worldwide, there are 81 additional EDGE networks planned or in deployment.

  • There are currently 105 UMTS networks in service across 50 countries, with 59 more networks planned or in deployment.

  • HSDPA, which is an enhanced version of UMTS for high speed mobile broadband, was launched first in the world by Cingular Wireless in December 2005. Now, five months later, HSDPA is commercially deployed in 32 networks and 67 additional operators have networks planned, in deployment, or in trial.


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