3G gains ground as a third of new sign ups are for WCDMA services in Europe
26 January 2006
A third of new sign-ups to mobile networks in western Europe in the last quarter of 2005 were on to 3G network services, according to figures from Informa Telecoms & Media.
Western Europe saw 4 million new WCDMA subscribers in 4Q05, equivalent to 32.3 per cent of the region's 12.39 million total net adds for the period, and giving the strongest indication yet that 3G is finally gaining momentum.
Worldwide, there were about 8.4 million 3G net adds in 4Q05, a run rate of 8.07 per cent of global net adds, while Asia Pacific saw the most successful WCDMA take-up in absolute terms recording 4.4 million net adds in 4Q05, or 11.08 per cent of the region's total net adds.
"After years of hype, delays, skepticism and then disappointment, it is a welcome relief to say that WCDMA has finally come of age," says Gavin Patterson, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "Preliminary figures show that end-2005 there were 44.42 million WCDMA subscribers worldwide, an increase of 163.62 per cent over the 16.85 million subs registered as of 31 December 2004."
And now, not only has 3G arrived, but operators are this year looking to the advent of true, mobile broadband services with the introduction of HSDPA networks and handsets.
Patterson says the arrival of HSDPA is an important milestone for the GSM community as, for the first time, it will make broadband Internet access a truly mobile experience. "Wi-Fi may have untethered the Internet, and helped to sell thousands of cups of coffee, but HSDPA/HSUPA will make the Internet a completely mobile experience."