The worldwide movement by operators to deploy high-speed mobile broadband services – based on the global W-CDMA and HSDPA technology standards is fuelling unprecedented economies of scale in the supply of equipment for carriers and handsets for consumers.
According to the GSMA, the global trade organization for the mobile industry, 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 HSDPA – the next evolution of W-CDMA – 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. Already, 18 mobile networks are providing live commercial W-CDMA/ HSDPA services in 14 countries.
Among the raft of global operator commitments, a number of networks have already announced deployment of W-CDMA/HSDPA in the 850MHz frequency band, including Cingular Wireless, Telstra in Australia and Rogers Wireless – Canada’s largest wireless voice and data communications service provider.
This week, mobile operator KTF of Korea also announced that it will switch focus from its CDMA network to a new nationwide W-CDMA/ HSDPA network covering 84 South Korean cities by the end of the year.
More than 315 handset products for W-CDMA are available already from the vendor community, 25 of which are HSDPA ready and a raft of new products are due for shipment in 2006.
In terms of global footprint, the GSM world is more than six times bigger than that of the nearest competing wireless technology, with 82 percent share of the digital wireless market and growing, while market share for other wireless technologies continues to decline.