Friday 22 June 2007

2.5 Billion GSM Subscribers Worldwide

Bellevue, WA, June 05, 2007 -
Today, 3G Americas reports that the number of GSM mobile wireless subscribers worldwide has reached 2.5 billion, a stunning 400% increase in GSM subscribers from only six years ago, according to the estimates of Informa's World Cellular Information Service. Every day, there are more than one million new additions to the GSM family of technology users receiving service from one of 700 commercial GSM networks across 218 countries and territories around the world.

“It’s unprecedented for almost any global industry to achieve the growth and success demonstrated by the GSM family of technologies, with an estimated 2.5 billion global customers today,” stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. “This level of wireless technology growth exceeds that of almost all other lifestyle-changing innovations.”
Looking back, it was almost one hundred years ago when the first so-called "mobile" phone call was made by Lars Ericsson in 1910— although not wireless, as Ericsson attached wires to a telephone pole terminal to make his call while on the road. 2007 marks the 60th anniversary of AT&T and Bell Laboratories' 1947 invention of the cellular phone. Today, it is estimated that more than 37% of the world's 6.6 billion people (US Census Bureau) use GSM technology.

GSM subscribers, including nearly 130 million UMTS/HSDPA subscriptions, currently comprise nearly 85% of the global mobile wireless market. GSM became the dominant Latin American mobile wireless technology in less than a decade since its launch in the region in 1998, acquiring 2 million subscribers by the year 2000, and 200 million by end of year 2006. The GSM family now serves 331 million customers in all the Americas as of 1Q 2007, and is available in every single country. This market leadership is due to the numerous technical and economic benefits of the GSM family of technologies for both operators and their customers.

GSM technologies, including GPRS, EDGE and UMTS/HSPA, offer overwhelming advantages in terms of global scope, scale, international roaming and service that are still unmatched by other mobile wireless technologies. As of May 2007, there are 169 UMTS operators in service across 71 countries, and 117 of those operators in 59 countries have deployed an enhanced version of UMTS called HSDPA. Additionally, nearly all UMTS/HSDPA devices manufactured today include the EDGE technology as the compatible fallback technology, allowing for global roaming and delivery of high-speed wireless data services.
HSPA (HSDPA/HSUPA) technology is poised to be the leading mobile broadband technology for the rest of the decade, outpacing alternative mobile broadband technologies by leveraging on the current installed base of the GSM family of technologies and providing the most efficient solution. It is expected that almost all GSM/EDGE operators will someday migrate to HSPA technology.

Pearson continued, “While other technologies are grabbing attention, HSPA is being rolled out around the world, separating future promise from that which is available today. Building upon the enormous foundation of customers and commercial deployment of GSM, and the broad research and development by vendors, HSPA will continue in its mobile broadband leadership position for years to come.”

For white papers, statistics and more information on the GSM family of technologies, visit

About 3G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Wireless Technology
The mission of 3G Americas is to promote and facilitate the seamless deployment throughout the Americas of GSM and its evolution to 3G and beyond. The organization fully supports the Third Generation (3G) technology migration strategy to EDGE and UMTS/HSPA adopted by many operators in the Americas. The GSM family of technologies accounts for 85% of wireless mobile customers worldwide. 3G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, WA with an office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Dallas, TX. For more information, visit our website at

About Informa Telecoms & Media
Informa Telecoms & Media provides business intelligence and strategic services to the global telecoms and media markets. All of our products and services - from news, trend analysis and forecasting to industry data, face-to-face events and training - are driven by our deep understanding of the markets we serve and by our goal to help our clients make better business decisions.

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