1.5 Billion GSM Customers


3G Americas reports that as of August 2005, there are 1.5 billion GSM customers according to the latest subscriber data from Informa Telecoms & Media. Remarkably, it was just in Q1 2004 that the GSM technology reached the one billion customer milestone and with a robust and unrivaled growth, GSM already totaled 1.46 billion customers worldwide at the end of Q2 2005, passing the 1.5 billion milestone in August.

“It took the industry over 12 years to reach one billion GSM customers,” stated Kester Mann, Senior Research Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media, “but sustained growth from rapidly expanding markets such as China, India, Russia and USA will ensure that the second billion is achieved in little over three and a half years, forecast for Q3 2007.”

As of June 2005, GSM again added more new customers annually than the total subscriber base any other mobile digital technology with 347.2 million new GSM customers. GSM customers account for 82% of all new digital wireless customers in the first half of this year.

GSM continues to be the fasting growing wireless technology throughout the Americas with greater than 100% annual growth at the end of the second quarter. By adding 79.4 million new customers in one year since Q2 2004, GSM more than doubled its customer base in the Americas reaching a market share of 38.3% and becoming the #1 technology in the Western Hemisphere. More new customers in the Americas — 79.4 million of the 85.8 total new customer base — chose GSM than any other technology in the preceding twelve months. GSM subscribers totaled more than 158 million as of June 2005 — 89 million customers in Latin America and the Caribbean and 69 million in the U.S. and Canada.

GSM gained more than 27.2 million customers annually to June 2005 for nearly 65% growth in the U.S. and Canada with a nearly 2:1 ratio of new customers choosing GSM compared to the incumbent market leader CDMA which showed a gain of 15.7 million new customers in that same time.

Wireless penetration levels in the Latin America and Caribbean region are rapidly escalating and by June 2005 there were nearly 205 million total mobile wireless customers corresponding to an average penetration of 36%.

In addition to the GSM growth, WCDMA grew by 70% in 1H 2005, gaining more than 11.8 million new subscribers to bring the total UMTS subscriber base to 28.6 million worldwide in June 2005. With 82 commercial UMTS networks, that customer base stands at approximately 33 million today. According to The UMTS Forum’s recent September 6, 2005 press announcement — total worldwide subscriptions for 3G mobile networks have now passed the 50 million mark.