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Past the 200 million milestone: 3G/UMTS subs grow
WCDMA/HSPA represents two out of three 3G customers

Latest figures confirm that global subscriptions to 3G/UMTS networks have passed the 200 million milestone.

Provided for the UMTS Forum by Wireless Intelligence (www.wirelessintelligence.com), the data overwhelmingly confirms UMTS (WCDMA/HPSA) as the world’s most popular 3G cellular technology. WCDMA/HSPA now represents more than two thirds of all subscriptions – currently numbering just over 300 million – to 3G networks worldwide.

Of this 200 million UMTS/HSPA customer total, almost 20 million are already subscribers to high-speed HSPA mobile broadband networks. According to Wireless Intelligence, current HSPA subscriber numbers will double this year, exceeding 40 million by the end of 2008.

More than 165 UMTS networks have meanwhile been upgraded to HSPA capability, bringing high-speed mobile broadband services to customers via a choice of more than 400 devices (announced or launched) including handsets, PC cards, external modems, routers and notebook PCs with embedded HSPA chipsets.

UMTS/HSPA thus represents a fast-growing part of all subscriptions to the 3GPP family of cellular systems. Embracing GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA and HSPA, the 3GPP ‘footprint’ of GSM and evolved GSM systems now exceeds 2.6 billion mobile connections worldwide.

With global subscriptions to all mobile network technologies exceeding 3.3 billion, the GSM/UMTS Evolution family thus represents well over 80% of all cellular connections worldwide.

With 50% of all 3G/UMTS global connections, Western Europe is the largest regional market for WCDMA, leading Asia Pacific that represents 43% of WCDMA subscriptions. However Asia Pacific currently claims the largest proportion of 3G+/HSPA subscribers, with 45% of all high-speed mobile broadband customers. The second largest regional market for HSPA is North America, with 30% of the world’s HSPA subscriptions in USA/Canada.