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Deutsche Bank examines impact of the business of a billion people

White paper highlights socio-economic impact of GSM

Global revenues attributable to GSM totalled $277 billion in 2003 according to a newly published white paper from Deutsche Bank. This socio-economic study of the impact of GSM worldwide further forecasts that GSM revenues will grow to $500 billion in 2005.

The Deutsche Bank paper, "Brilliant Past, Bright Future," published today, describes the evolution of mobile over the last decade from a niche business to one of the largest and most important industries in the world.

Beyond the basic financial boost provided by GSM to economies worldwide, Gareth Jenkins, senior telecoms analyst at Deutsche Bank and lead author of the report, highlights the impact GSM has had on real people's lives. Perhaps the most far-reaching social consequences of GSM telephony have been felt in emerging economies.

"The deployment of GSM has helped to bridge the digital divide and bring modern telecommunications services to chronically under-served communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America," said Jenkins. The report examines the impact that GSM can have in developing economies through case studies on Nigeria and Afghanistan.

"It took telephone companies more than a century to install one billion phone lines," said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association and member of its Board. "GSM has connected its first billion users in just 12 years, changing, improving and saving the lives of millions of people along the way."

The report was commissioned to chronicle the historic milestone of one billion GSM customers by leading industry players including the GSMA Association, Alcatel, Ericsson, Nokia, Nortel Networks, Motorola, Siemens, 3G Americas, the UMTS Forum. This milestone is the central theme at this week"s 3GSM World Congress, the annual gathering of the global mobile industry in Cannes, France, and will also be commemorated at events worldwide over the coming months.

"The key to the success of GSM is that its development was founded, from the outset, on delivering a specific user benefit - international roaming," stated Gareth Jenkins. "International roaming demands an open, future-proof standard to ensure interoperability while not stifling competition or innovation among suppliers."

There are now more GSM mobile handsets in daily use than the total number of personal computers and televisions combined. Driven by GSM, the number of mobile subscribers exceeded the number of fixed telephone lines for the first time in 2003. In the last twelve months alone, GSM added more new customers than the second most widely used mobile technology (CDMA) had in its total worldwide customer base at the year-end.

"As we rapidly evolve towards a mobile wireless information society that will bring about convergence of mobility and the internet, GSM is continuing to play a crucial role in facilitating the smooth transition to the next generation of mobile telecommunications services," concludes Jenkins.

It is estimated that at least 85% of the world's next-generation wireless customers will utilise the GSM family of technologies - GSM/GPRS, EDGE and 3GSM UMTS/WCDMA - for both voice and data services.

Industry support:

"Mobile's lead over fixed is expected to increase further as the number of mobile users continues to grow rapidly. Following the first wave of growth in telecommunications based on fixed line services, GSM is the key booster of a wider growth wave created by mobile communications. We are working to underpin the increasing success of GSM family (GSM/GPRS, EDGE and UMTS/WCDMA) across all three dimensions of today's mobile market - helping extend penetration in emerging markets, assisting MSPs meet the challenges of their rapidly maturing markets, and expanding the success of mobile broadband services."
- Etienne Fouques, Alcatel Executive Vice President, President Mobile Communications Group

"One billion GSM users is a milestone. More than 80% of the next billion subscribers will be found in growth markets and it is important for us to have a strong product portfolio to address the needs of these markets."
- Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO of Ericsson

"The amazing success - and influence - of GSM cannot be overstated. By making mobile communication an everyday part of everyday life around the world, GSM has greatly impacted not only the communications industry, but also the very way people interact with technology and with each other. GSM has already been a force for beneficial changes in most of the countries around the world, and now it is poised to bring the same benefits to entirely new regions and customers."
- Sari Baldauf, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Networks, Member of the Nokia Group Executive Board

"The foundation of human culture and society has always been communication. As the telephone marked our triumph over distance by allowing us to speak to each other across oceans and continents, the mobile phone now marks our triumph over time by keeping us connected at all times no matter where we are. At Nortel Networks, our next challenge is to extend that gift to the billions more who are not yet connected, and to move beyond simple communication to the sharing of the world's knowledge between people and societies that today are a world apart."
- Pascal Debon, President, Wireless Networks, Nortel Networks

"Wireless customers now surpass wireline customers in more than a half-dozen countries of South America, and this is growing. The phenomenon of mobile technology is ideal in serving the communications and now data service needs of emerging markets throughout the region - markets previously underserved by the opportunity for affordable and available telephony. GSM is now annually growing close to 150% in Latin America, is the customers' #1 choice in all of the Western Hemisphere and is rapidly increasing coverage and service offerings."
- Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas

"GSM's social and economic impact is unparalleled by any other form of personal technology. The GSM family of second and third generation mobile technologies also provides an exciting opportunity for established and emerging economies with a strong track record in software development to export innovative new applications to a global marketplace."
- Jean-Pierre Bienaim, Chairman, UMTS Forum