The trade body, 3G Americas has announced that the world now has 3 billion mobile phone users based on the GSM family (inc UMTS), based upon research and projections by Informa Telecoms and Media. Today, 88% of the world's 3.5 billion mobile wireless subscriptions are to the GSM family of technologies.
By comparison, there are only 850 million personal computers worldwide, forecast to reach 2 billion in the year 2015 (Forrester, June 2007). Three billion GSM based subscriptions is nearly triple the number of people accessing the Internet around the world, 1.1 billion. Fixed landline phones number just over this, at 1.3 billion globally. The closest technology in terms of number of electronic devices is the number of television sets. But even that number falls a full billion short of the 3 billion GSM family milestone, with an estimated 2 billion television sets in use today (Source: Communities Dominate Brands blog, Tomi Ahonen, January 2007).
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Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas, commented, "The rapid uptake of GSM mobile wireless technology is unprecedented. Three billion subscriptions -- nearly half of the world's population -- is a milestone that is unmatched in terms of volume and affect on people's lives. The GSM family of technology's expansive scope is a central reason we will continue to thrive as the market leader for mobile broadband with HSPA, and in the future, LTE."
GSM Family of Technologies Growth in the Americas
From March 2007 to March 2008, GSM added over 100 million subscriptions in Latin America and the Caribbean for a total of more than 332 million subscriptions and a wireless market share of 83%, according to estimates by Informa Telecoms and Media. As of April 2008, there are 19 commercial HSDPA networks launched in 11 countries of this region. New launches of HSDPA occur almost on a weekly basis, and operators such as Telcel continue expansion with current commercial HSDPA deployments in 16 cities in Mexico.
In North America, operators continue upgrading and expanding their HSDPA networks. Rogers in Canada announced today their commercial launch of HSPA at 7.2 Mbps in several cities, making them the first operator in the Western Hemisphere to announce this upgrade. AT&T's HSDPA coverage is being extended from more than 270 major markets today to 350 leading cities by the end of the year, and the network is undergoing upgrades to HSPA as well. AT&T today reports average customer speeds of 600-1400 Kbps for HSDPA mobile broadband service, and this continues to increase with network improvements.
Source: Cellular News.