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GSM now accounts for over 80% of new digital subscriber growth
Posted on 9-Jul-2003 21:50. | Tags Filed under: News.

For the first time since 1997 the percentage of new subscribers selecting GSM as their mobile service of choice has passed 80%.

According to new figures published by EMC World Cellular Database, the total number of new mobile subscribers in the first quarter 2003 approached 51 million, with GSM accounting for almost 42 million, or 82% of new additions in this period. GSM operators are also the largest in the world with China Mobile at over 144 million, and China Unicom at almost 75 million subscribers with GSM accounting for 65 million, by the end of the first quarter 2003. Of the top 20 largest operators (by customer numbers) in the world, 15 use GSM technology, which is clear evidence of GSM's broad market acceptance, and performance in the highly competitive mobile services market.

"There has been strong GSM growth in virtually every region of the world during the first quarter of the year. We have seen excellent progress, especially in Asia Pacific, China and Latin America in the take up and growth of GSM," says Alan Hadden, President, GSA - Global mobile Suppliers Association.

China still accounts for the largest proportion of mobile growth globally, followed by Asia Pacific, Western Europe and Eastern Europe. In Asia Pacific including China, 81% of the region's growth was generated by GSM operators. In China alone, GSM growth in Q1 2003 was 14.1 million subscribers, or 87% of new additions.

A similar situation can be seen in other regions. For example, in Latin America the market is strongly benefiting from the decisions by 25 of the region's 31 TDMA operators to deploy GSM as their technology platform to support third generation (3G) services and solutions. "Brazil is one of the most hotly contested markets in Latin America, where GSM captured 51% of growth in the first quarter of this year. The success of GSM has been outstanding, taking a clear position of leadership, with both TDMA and CDMA growth declining", added Alan Hadden.

GSM also markedly increased market share in North America, by achieving 61% of net additions in first quarter 2003. "We again see how customers are benefiting from operators' decisions to migrate from TDMA to the secure GSM evolution path that delivers new, advanced mobile services as well as new data and roaming revenues," concludes Alan Hadden. "In addition, the interest and take up of new GSM data services like picture messaging, Java™ games, music downloads and now video messaging, show how GSM operators meet the growing needs of an ever expanding audience."

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