3G/UMTS family welcomes its 500 millionth customer

Date: Wed, 02/03/2010 - 14:55

Mobile milestone reached in less than a decade
3G/UMTS family welcomes its 500 millionth customer Jean-Pierre Bienaimé, UMTS Forum Chairman

The UMTS Forum confirms that subscriptions to 3G/UMTS networks have reached 500 million. The milestone comes just over eight years after the world’s first commercial 3G/WCDMA network was launched by Japanese operator NTT DOCOMO.
According to data from mobile information provider Wireless Intelligence, there are now over 300 UMTS family networks worldwide.
The half-billion total includes almost 40% of 3G/UMTS subscribers who are enjoying an enhanced mobile broadband experience via HSPA networks. Figures also confirm that over 35 HSPA+ networks are now commercialised, boosting theoretical peak data rates as high as 28 Mb/sec.
“While it took fixed telephone networks over a century to reach their first half billion customers, GSM achieved the same milestone in only a decade”, comments UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaimé. “Reflecting our planet’s ever-growing need to stay connected, it’s taken UMTS technology even less time to achieve the same feat.”
“We’re seeing WCDMA and now HSPA delivering the same economies of scale that have already made GSM such an overwhelming global success”, continues Bienaimé. “It’s a fantastic confirmation of the continuing efforts of the Third Generation Partnership Project ( to provide a clear technology roadmap for operators and equipment manufacturers alike.”
Building on the framework of technical standards defined by 3GPP, operators, vendors and device manufacturers are readying for this year’s anticipated first wave of LTE (Long Term Evolution) network deployments. Following on from the world’s first commercialised LTE networks launched by TeliaSonera in central urban areas of Stockholm and Oslo, over 40 operators have already confirmed their plans to roll out networks during 2010-2012.
Building on the success of the WCDMA/HSPA ecosystem, LTE will offer end-users an even faster, more satisfying mobile Internet experience, while attracting a new wave of players from the web, e-commerce and media/content industries.

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