GSM in the Americas: Fastest Growing with 100% Annual Growth; #1 Wireless Technology; #1 Choice of all New Customers; Doubles Customer BaseSeptember 08 2005
3G Americas reports that as of August 2005, there are 1.5 billion GSM customers according to the latest subscriber data from Informa Telecoms & Media. Remarkably, it was just in Q1 2004 that the GSM technology reached the one billion customer milestone and with a robust and unrivaled growth, GSM already totaled 1.46 billion customers worldwide at the end of Q2 2005, passing the 1.5 billion milestone in August. "It took the industry over 12 years to reach one billion GSM customers," stated Kester Mann, Senior Research Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media, "but sustained growth from rapidly expanding markets such as China, India, Russia and USA will ensure that the second billion is achieved in little over three and a half years, forecast for Q3 2007."
As of June 2005, GSM again added more new customers annually than the total subscriber base any other mobile digital technology with 347.2 million new GSM customers. GSM customers account for 82% of all new digital wireless customers in the first half of this year.
GSM continues to be the fasting growing wireless technology throughout the Americas with greater than 100% annual growth at the end of the second quarter. By adding 79.4 million new customers in one year since Q2 2004, GSM more than doubled its customer base in the Americas reaching a market share of 38.3% and becoming the #1 technology in the Western Hemisphere. More new customers in the Americas -- 79.4 million of the 85.8 total new customer base -- chose GSM than any other technology in the preceding twelve months. GSM subscribers totaled more than 158 million as of June 2005 -- 89 million customers in Latin America and the Caribbean and 69 million in the U.S. and Canada.
GSM gained more than 27.2 million customers annually to June 2005 for nearly 65% growth in the U.S. and Canada with a nearly 2:1 ratio of new customers choosing GSM compared to the incumbent market leader CDMA which showed a gain of 15.7 million new customers in that same time.
Wireless penetration levels in the Latin America and Caribbean region are rapidly escalating and by June 2005 there were nearly 205 million total mobile wireless customers corresponding to an average penetration of 36%. 3G Americas' Director of Latin America & the Caribbean, Erasmo Rojas attributes the 141% unsurpassed growth of GSM technology over the past year to continuous economies of scale in infrastructure and devices that benefit both operators and customers. Rojas remarked, "GSM is growing 3.5 times more than CDMA in Latin America and the Caribbean -- gaining nearly 52 million subscribers from June 2004 to June 2005 compared to CDMA's less than 15 million new subscribers during the same time." With the recent license acquired by Caribbean operator Digicel in Haiti, GSM will be the only wireless digital technology deployed in every single country of the Americas region.
EDGE and UMTS (WCDMA) are proliferating globally as GSM's evolution to third generation high-speed wireless voice and data services. Nearly 100 commercial EDGE networks in more than 60 countries worldwide, and this includes 32 commercial EDGE networks in the Americas, are delivering data services to GSM customers today. Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas noted, "There are global EDGE commitments from 180 operators representing more than 800 million customers within their current customer base. The global scope and scale provided by EDGE sets the foundation for wireless data services across the world -- which is further enhanced when operators deploy a complementary EDGE/UMTS-HSDPA network strategy."
In addition to the GSM growth, UMTS, the leading industry standard for the delivery of 3G voice and data service, grew by 70% in 1H 2005, gaining more than 11.8 million new subscribers to bring the total UMTS subscriber base to 28.6 million worldwide in June 2005. With 82 commercial UMTS networks, that customer base stands at approximately 33 million today. According to The UMTS Forum's recent September 6, 2005 press announcement--total worldwide subscriptions for 3G mobile networks have now passed the 50 million mark with UMTS/WCDMA subscribers outnumbering those using other 3G technologies by a factor of two. UMTS enhanced with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) is also becoming a market reality with 36 networks planned or in initial deployment phases and three network trials underway as of September 2005. Expected in 4th quarter 2005 will be the commercial launch of HSDPA by Cingular Wireless in 15-20 major U.S. markets. Analysts have predicted that most operators who deploy UMTS will enhance their networks with HSDPA due to its combination of spectral efficiency, high speed and low latency, thus enabling true mass-market mobile broadband.
Data is based on figures from Informa Telecoms & Media World Cellular Information Service (WCIS). Detailed charts on GSM growth as well as EDGE and UMTS deployment lists are available at 3G Americas' website HERE
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