CDMA Worldwide Subscriber Base Reaches 431 Million

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The CDMA Development Group (CDG) has announced that CDMA subscribers grew to more than 431 million and CDMA2000 grew to more than 417 million during last year. The Asia Pacific (APAC) region added the most net subscribers and Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) grew the fastest by percentage.

CDMA2000 subscribership among the 250 networks worldwide grew 16% in 2007, including strong sales figures for broadband EV-DO devices and services. The EV-DO subscriber base grew from 55 million to 90.5 million in 2007, achieving a compound annual growth rate of more than 64%.

APAC and North America claimed the majority of customers, with 49% and 32% of the global market, respectively. APAC added 6.2 million in Q4 2007 to reach 211 million subscribers, making it the largest net growth region in the world. North America alone has more than 137 million CDMA subscribers. APAC and EMEA saw the greatest year-over-year growth, with 24% and 60%, respectively. Other highly-concentrated regions for CDMA are India with more than 61 million subscribers, China with 42 million, and Indonesia with 14 million. In addition, more and more operators in emerging countries are reaching the one-million CDMA subscriber mark. For example, Angola's Movicel, Morocco's WANA, Starcomms of Nigeria, PTCL in Pakistan, Sudatel and Yemen Mobile all saw subscribership race past this milestone in 2007.

The CDG also noted that 2007 also saw an explosion in the availability of both low- and high-end devices. More than 350 devices were introduced on a commercial basis. Today, more than 82 very low-end (VLE) CDMA2000 handsets (under US$50 wholesale) are available globally from 19 suppliers.

Perhaps most important to the designation of 2007 as a critical year for CDMA is the number of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Revision A (Rev. A) deployments that took place. At the beginning of the year, only three operators had deployed Rev. A technology. Now, 26 operators worldwide have upgraded to Rev. A and another 31 operators are in the process of upgrading. Operators with working Rev. A networks have witnessed a substantial increase in their data revenue.

In addition, CDMA has found a home in new spectrum allocations. China Unicom made a successful bid to operate 3G in Macau and rolled-out its first CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network there in October. PCCW-HKT Telephone won a 15-year license to deploy and operate CDMA2000 in the 800 MHz band in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, several operators in the United States are considering CDMA2000 to offer Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) in the 1.7/2.1 GHz frequency band.

On the 450 and 700 MHz fronts, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) reached a decision to use the two bands for 3G and next-generation mobile services.

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