The worldwide movement by operators to deploy high-speed mobile broadband services based on W-CDMA and High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) standards is claimed by the GSM Association (GSMA) to be fuelling unprecedented economies of scale in the supply of equipment for carriers and handsets for consumers.
According to the GSMA, more than 105 mobile networks have launched commercial W-CDMA networks across 50 countries so far. Following the world's first large scale commercial launch of the next evolution of W-CDMA, HSDPA, by Cingular Wireless last year in the US, more than 95 operators from 48 countries are deploying, or have announced plans to deploy the technology. Eighteen mobile networks are already providing live commercial W-CDMA/HSDPA services in 14 countries.
Emerging markets are part of this trend - with pride of place going to
This ease of migration has been witnessed in the phenomenal growth of markets such as
GSMA members are confident that, as part of the evolutionary GSM family of technologies, W-CDMA and HSDPA will benefit from the strengths of the global GSM eco-system, e.g., global roaming and interoperability, open standards and economies of scale - evidenced through lower costs for handsets, and greater variety. More than 315 handset products for W-CDMA are available from the vendor community, 25 of which are HSDPA-ready. A further collection of new products is due for shipment in 2006.
In terms of global footprint, the GSM world is estimated by GSMA to be more than six times bigger than that of the nearest competing wireless technology, with an 82% share of the digital wireless market and growing. Market share for other wireless technologies is claimed to be in decline. The scale of GSM growth enables consumers to enjoy unequalled value and variety of products and services, brought to bear by a global eco-system of hundreds and thousands of suppliers, as opposed to the few serving proprietary standards.