Mobile Phone Subscribers Pass 4 Billion Mark

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GSM focused trade body 3G Americas says that a historic milestone was achieved for the wireless industry in December 2008 with 4 billion connections to mobile devices worldwide.

This estimate by Informa Telecoms & Media represents 60% of the entire global population today. In some countries, millions of people are now experiencing connectivity to the world for the first time through wireless and changing their economic, social and political fortunes forever.

"The Latin America and Caribbean region continues to show steady consumer growth with 16% year-on-year growth as subscription numbers are expected to reach in excess of 440 million, equating to 76% penetration," noted Marisol Gomez, Americas regional analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "The market in the region to have shown the greatest number of net additions in the year was unsurprisingly Brazil [19 million], but in terms of annual growth, we note that Peru has been a particularly fast growing market with 4.6 million net additions, representing annual subscription growth of 33%."

As many emerging markets are achieving a new level of communication, wireless technology continues its rapid advancement into next generation mobile networks. Currently, more than 100 operators worldwide, including most industry leaders, have announced expectations to migrate networks to LTE from 2010 and beyond. LTE is the next evolution of mobile broadband technology that utilizes OFDM-based technology and a flat-IP core network allowing an enhanced Internet experience on mobile devices.

"Third generation technologies continue to evolve and the GSM operator today has a clear path towards LTE," stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "In addition to the evolution to LTE by GSM operators, LTE is proving to be the technology choice for CDMA operators as well."

The number of wireless users on 3G services continues to rise. Informa estimates that there are nearly 415 million 3G subscriptions to date, with 77% share of the 3G market on UMTS/HSPA networks or 320 million connections, and the remaining 95 million on CDMA EV-DO. The number of commercial UMTS/HSPA networks has risen to 258 in more than 100 countries, including 41 networks in 20 countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

"HSPA and HSPA+ will compete with any and all mobile wireless technologies available today and in the near future," concluded Pearson. "In fact, recent commercial launches of HSPA+, such as that of Telstra in Australia, are reporting peak theoretical downlink speeds of 21.6 Mbps. 3G is more than capable of delivering the bandwidth customers need today, and the emerging LTE technology provides us with a clear evolution path for the future."

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Tags: lte  core network  mts  cdma  hspa  mobile broadband  compete  telstra  3g americas  gsm  hspa+  bandwidth  downlink  latin america  caribbean 

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