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100 million new UMTS subscribers in past year

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3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association, is reporting that UMTS/HSPA technology has grown in a big way over the past year, adding over 100 million subscriptions in the twelve months ending in Q3 2008.

“As evidenced by the subscriber growth numbers, the GSM family of technologies continues to provide the four key ingredients for mobile wireless success: Coverage, Technology Performance, Devices and Applications,” stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. “The UMTS/HSPA mobile broadband technology achieved a total of 262 million subscriptions at the end of September 2008, continuing in its ranking as the leader in high speed mobile broadband technology worldwide.”

To date, there are 39 commercial UMTS/HSPA networks in the Americas region in 19 countries. Worldwide, there are more than 256 commercial UMTS/HSPA networks in over 100 countries. Without these networks, our BlackBerry Bolds Around the Word map (which is in sore need of an update) would be a lot less full.

|via CN|

India adds 7.7 million GSM customers in October (BlackBerry Bytes)

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IndiaAnyone who wonders why RIM’s recent troubles bringing BlackBerrys to India were such a big deal need only look at these numbers to understand. According to the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), India’s GSM networks added a record breaking 7.7 million net customers in October, bringing India’s total GSM base to 241.4 million. These figures, however, do not include the GSM subscriber base from Reliance Communications – which although a predominantly CDMA operator has a growing GSM base as well. Adding Reliance Communications’ estimated 9.2 million GSM subscribers would bring India’s total base to over 250 million GSM customers.

250 million GSM subscribers – just think about that number for a second. That’s almost the population of the United States. How much would it improve RIM’s bottom line to grab even a small percentage of that number?

|via CN|

Telus and Bell launching GSM service in 2010

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Bell and Telus

Big news for Canadians came out last week regarding their choice of wireless carriers, as it seems that within a few years, Canada will be a fully GSM country. Both Bell and Telus have announced their intention of launching HSPA GSM service by 2010, with the intention of moving towards an eventual 4G LTE network. Both Bell and Telus plan to layer the upcoming HSPA networks over their CDMA networks, in the hope that the transition to GSM technology will be as painless as possible for their customers.

“Bell’s transition to the global 4G LTE standard with a combined EV-DO and HSPA network path aligns us with more than 30 major carriers worldwide planning a similar move to LTE,” said Stephen Howe, CTO for Bell. “This broad global technology ecosystem will mean a fast, efficient and cost-effective network transition to 4G LTE, and access to the broadest possible range of next-generation phones and data services.”

Bell and Telus’ shift to GSM will likely bring about a major shake up in the Canadian wireless market. With all three carriers having access to the latest and greatest devices, consumers should benefit from the resulting price point war over voice and data services. Post a comment and let us know if you think an all-GSM Canada is a win-win for consumers and carriers not named Rogers.

(via RCR Wireless)

HSPA users hit 50 million from 11 million last year

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Radio TowerWith RIM’s first HSPA (the BlackBerry Bold’s flavour of 3G) device now available internationally, and so many worries about coverage arising, it’s time to take a look at some subscriber numbers. Last year, 11 million cell phones were running on the 3G technology, but now we’re looking at 50 million handsets cruising on HSPA networks. That substantial increase is supported by 191 service providers and over 740 devices.

“These figures highlight the global success of Mobile Broadband and the fact that we are continuing to see greater and greater economies of scale,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. “This is driving down the cost of devices and equipment and enabling more and more users across the world to enjoy easy access to media-rich services anywhere at anytime.”

This gives us a lot of hope for better connectivity on the BlackBerry Bold and future 3G devices, but by the looks of the BlackBerry Javelin and BlackBerry Kickstart, the 9000 may be the only HSPA BlackBerry until the BlackBerry Thunder in mid-October.

(via cellular-news)

RIM sued alongside Apple and Palm

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GavelWiAV Solutions has recently unloaded both barrels of legal action on RIM, Apple and Palm regarding what’s called Adaptive Multi-Rate compression, a GSM voice compression technology. AMR is used to detect silence rather than sound, altering music to accommodate voice, and power management. Up to ten patents are supposedly being infringed upon, but AMR was included in the GSM standard back in ’98, so you have to wonder how it will all end up. WiAV only actually owns two of the offending patents, while they’re dragging their liscensor, Mindspeed, into the case to defend the rest of the technologies. On the whole, it sounds like this is a shaky case already, and probably won’t get too far. If you’re fluent in legalese, you can take a look at some of the court papers here.

(via Engadget)

Compelling Conversations: North American Carrier Competition, 4G and GSM vs. CDMA

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Plato and Aristotle discus their favorite wireless technology

BlackBerry Cool writers have the privilege of being in constant contact with a variety of wireless industry players. Naturally, we often get in heated or hilarious discussions over recent news. We’ve decided to start posting some of the more interesting conversations, in the hopes that it will spur greater debate. Our test run is a hearty debate over the value of a CDMA carrier switching to GSM, how long until 4G becomes anything more than a ‘wet dream’ and myths about call quality. Enjoy, and please post a comment with your thoughts.

Note: My interlocutor was uncomfortable with being identified, so let’s just call him Fake Ted Rogers.

Fake Ted Rogers: Isn’t saying Bell/Telus is going to GSM kinda like saying Verizon should?
Douglas Soltys: Well, different countries mean different biz scenarios.
Fake Ted Rogers: I’d like to see what the subs are for Tel/Bel compared to Rogers. As in the states Verizon has more than AT&T.
Douglas Soltys: Some would say that Verizon is run much better than Tel/Bel.

Continue reading BBCool’s compelling conversation with Fake Ted Rogers