The UMTS Forum and 3G Americas today joined forces to provide a New York City audience with a global picture of the evolution of GSM. This is the first time that the UMTS Forum, the international body promoting the global uptake of UMTS 3G mobile services and 3G Americas, the trade organization promoting the seamless progression of GSM, GPRS, EDGE and UMTS in the Americas, have collaborated to give an update on the global advancement of the world's wireless industry.
The two organizations delivered a 'complementary' message to highlight the significant advance of GSM, the fastest growing technology in the Americas, and its evolution towards EDGE and UMTS/WCDMA next generation wireless technologies for the delivery of high-speed wireless data services.
GSM has become a pivotal part of U.S. wireless operators' strategy and GSM deployments in North America have grown tremendously over the last 18 months, following the migration of many operators from TDMA to GSM. By deploying the GSM family of technologies the U.S. operators benefit from being part a global opportunity, both now with GSM, and in the future with EDGE and UMTS. GSM also enables the Americas' operators to benefit from economies of scale, international roaming, and open standards. The key message is that the GSM global footprint provides an evolutionary path to EDGE and/or UMTS/WCDMA 3G that is expected to provide services up to 85% of the world's next generation customers.
Chris Pearson, Executive Vice President of 3G Americas, detailed the commitment to EDGE in the Western Hemisphere as both a stand-alone 3G technology and as a complementary technology to UMTS, "To date 38 operators in 24 countries of the Americas have plans to deploy EDGE to enable data-rich services and applications - representing some 110 million customers. EDGE is available today on a nationwide basis in the U.S., and is also available in Bermuda, Brazil, Chile, and Puerto Rico. Global scale has been achieved with 25 additional operators in 18 countries outside the Americas also planning EDGE deployment, and live EDGE networks currently available in Finland, Hong Kong, and Thailand -- reaching a combined global customer base today approaching a quarter of a billion customers."
The UMTS Forum highlighted the opportunities for the U.S. in 2004 when the necessary spectrum and capital that will be opened up to deploy WCDMA is available, and deployments can be made.
Jean-Pierre Bienaime, Chairman of the UMTS Forum also highlighted the current success of UMTS 3G in Europe and Asia: "Following deployments in Japan and several European territories subscriber numbers have increased dramatically. The latest figures show that there are about two million UMTS users across the world. Customers using the technology are now taking advantage of services such as online gaming, video telephony, personal multimedia recording, streaming and audio and video downloads."
UMTS Forum and 3G Americas agree that although every market, and indeed every operator is different, there are overwhelming reasons for operators across the world to align with the GSM evolution family in any of its different guises - whether GPRS, EDGE or UMTS.
About 3G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Wireless Technology
The mission of 3G Americas is to promote and facilitate the seamless deployment of the GSM family of technologies throughout the Americas for the benefit of consumers. The organization fully supports the Third Generation (3G) technology migration strategy GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS adopted by many operators in the Americas that is expected to globally account for up to 85% of the world's next-generation subscribers. 3G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, WA. For more information, visit www.3gamericas.org.