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 Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It is clear that the Asia Pacific region is a GSM stronghold, with 1.075 billion of the total 1.36 billion connections using that system and a further 85 million using 3rd Generation W-CDMA. These numbers compare with 1.003 billion and 75.0 million at the end of Q3 07 and 817.6 million and 48.3 million one year earlier, implying annual growth rates of 32% and 77% respectively.

Asia Pacific: Customers by Technology

However, GSM is not the only force in the market and for the moment at least, CDMA is still gaining ground.

It closed the quarter with 182.9 million connections, up 8.2% on the quarter and 21% on the year. The US technology may be wilting in other markets, but its presence in India gives it a lifeline here. How long this will continue though is not clear. In Australia, the technology will become extinct next week as Telstra is finally allowed to shut down its network in favour of its new “NextG” W-CDMA alternative. Reliance, India’s largest CDMA operator now has over 6 million of its 41 million total connected to GSM systems, while even more worryingly, South Korea seems to be moving away too. At the end of 2006, there were just 30k W-CDMA customers out of a total base of 41 million. At the end of 2007, this number had leapt to over 6 million, with CDMA declining to 37.6 million.

In total, there are five other technologies in use within the AsiaPac region, but all five are in clear decline. There are now fewer than 100,000 customers connected to first generation analogue technology (represented by AMPS, ETACS and NMT). This compares with over 700k three years ago. Other second generation technologies are not faring well either. The US TDMA standard has now almost completely disappeared with fewer than 350k connections in total, while Japan’s PDC system is in steady decline, losing another 2.7 million customers this quarter to end at 16.76 million.

Source: Cellular News.