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200 Commercial HSDPA Mobile Broadband Networks Worldwide

3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the GSM family of technologies including LTE, today announces the milestone of 200 commercial HSDPA networks worldwide in 88 countries, approximately doubling the number of commercial HSDPA networks that were available only one year ago.   Based on April 2008 estimates by Informa Telecoms and Media’s World Cellular Information Service, there are today more than 217 million UMTS/HSPA 3G subscriptions worldwide up from 100 million subscriptions in January 2007. 

Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas stated, “UMTS/HSPA is the global leader in 3G mobile broadband technology and this will continue for at least the next ten years.”  Informa forecasts that by year end 2012, there will be 1.3 billion UMTS/HSPA connections representing 78% of the 3G mobile broadband market.  In comparison, 56.8 million total connections to Mobile WiMAX are anticipated by year end 2012, of which 16.8 million will be mobile devices, with the remaining subscriptions on fixed and portable devices, according to a separate 2007 report by Informa.

It was in the U.S. that the first global launch of HSDPA occurred on a wide scale basis by AT&T in December 2005.  The number of commercial networks of HSDPA has multiplied rapidly since late 2005, with recent commercial launches by Zapp Mobile in Romania and Mobile TeleSystems in Russia achieving the 200 HSDPA network milestone. 

GSM operators worldwide, supporting more than 3.1 billion wireless connections, are choosing the long-term benefits of the 3GPP evolutionary path to HSPA and LTE.  It is expected that nearly all UMTS operators will upgrade their networks with HSDPA, and that prediction is quite close to being achieved today.  There are 229 commercial UMTS networks, 200 of which are HSDPA commercial networks.  T-Mobile USA was the first operator to launch UMTS/HSDPA in the 1700/2100 MHz spectrum bands in a major urban market with its recent deployment in New York City. Canadian operator Rogers was recently the first North American service provider to announce their deployment of  HSDPA at 7.2 Mbps, while AT&T in the U.S. covers more than 270 major markets today with HSPA delivering average user downlink speeds of 600-1400 kbps. 

“AT&T has a clear roadmap to the future with HSPA mobile broadband,” said Kris Rinne, Vice President Architecture & Planning, AT&T and Chairperson of 3G Americas.  “Our customers can look forward to faster speeds, enhanced domestic coverage and unmatched international roaming capabilities with HSPA and HSPA+.  In the coming years, those capabilities will be further enhanced as we deploy LTE, or Long Term Evolution, in our newly acquired 700 MHz spectrum.”

In April 2007, HSDPA had been launched in just three countries of Latin America and the Caribbean - Brazil, Chile and Puerto Rico.  Now, 13 months later, 25 operators across 14 countries in the region have commercial HSDPA services: Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay.

Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean of 3G Americas, stated, “By commercially launching HSDPA technology, 25 Latin American operators are providing enhanced user experiences for email, Internet access, music downloads, and video to their customers.“  He added, “HSDPA provides new increased revenue opportunities in both the enterprise and consumer wireless segments as operators provide 3G service for both postpaid and prepaid customers.”

Contributing to the success of HSPA are the rising revenues for operators as their customers use more and richer data services.  Enabled by a choice of nearly 500 devices from approximately 100 manufacturers, the GSM family of subscribers has more options available than any other 3G technology today.  HSPA operators also have a clear future roadmap beyond 3G with HSPA+ and LTE technologies.