GSA Confirms Near 50% Increase in EDGE Network Launches
Published on: 21st May 2007
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
A new survey by the GSA has confirmed that there are now 287 mobile network operators in 142 countries deploying EDGE Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution. This compares to 204 commitments one year ago representing over 40% growth. There are 111 EDGE network commitments in Europe followed by the Americas Caribbean (84) Middle East Africa (50) and APAC (42).
A total of 223 networks, i.e. over three quarters of deployments, have launched commercial services. This compares with 151 commercial networks in May 2006, i.e. almost 50% increase. Commercial EDGE-enabled services are now available in 113 countries in the Americas (59 networks), Asia Pacific (31 networks), Europe (97 networks) and the Middle East and Africa (36 networks). The footprint of GSM/EDGE-enabled services extended to 25 more countries in the last 12 months.
Most of the world's 450+ commercial GPRS operators have committed to EDGE, which allows operators to handle 3 times more subscribers than with GPRS, either by tripling the user data rate to typically 120 to 160kbps or more, or adding voice capacity. Operators report significant increase in data traffic and ARPU from EDGE device users compared to GPRS device users.
The GSA survey also shows that 116 WCDMA operators have deployed, or are currently deploying, combined WCDMA-EDGE networks, with 80 WCDMA-EDGE networks in commercial service.
Alan Hadden, President, GSA said: "This new GSA survey underlines the success of GSM/EDGE globally. The winning combination of EDGE and 3G/WCDMA-HSPA networks is a key point, which is important for newly-emerging 3G markets in Africa, China, India, Latin America, and Russia where GSM/EDGE is widely deployed."
Related GSA surveys confirm over 500 EDGE-capable user devices launched in the market. A growing number of WCDMA devices also incorporate EDGE capabilities, and the majority of HSDPA devices, estimated in the range 70-80%, also support EDGE. The growing trend is for products supporting a combination of tri-band WCDMA/HSDPA (850/1900/2100 MHz) and quad band GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz).
The capabilities of EDGE are also evolving, to improve service performance in general, and to facilitate conversational multimedia services. A number of enhancements are being standardized in 3GPP, known collectively as EDGE Evolution, and are included in 3GPP Release 7 for completion in 2007, and will deliver 2-3 times increase in bit rates, improved spectral efficiency, and reduced latency. EDGE Evolution users will experience mobile broadband similar to a 500 kbps ADSL service, and commercial solutions incorporating EDGE Evolution are expected by 2009."