Nearly six million customers are using UMTS 3G services today and that number is expected to more than double by the end of the year,” stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas, the promotional arm of GSM, GPRS, EDGE, and UMTS throughout the Americas.
“We have seen the commercial launch of 57 networks in 21 countries to date with an additional 93 operators in 37 countries now pre-commercial, planning, trialing, or awarded UMTS licenses for their evolution to 3G. Also, with 32 more potential licenses, UMTS is clearly leading the way as the global 3G wireless standard for voice and data.”
A white paper The Evolution of UMTS — 3GPP Release 5 and Beyond (pdf), provides information on the performance and spectral/network efficiency offered through Release 5, coupled with new service creation opportunities.
HSDPA will provide significant downlink data capacity and throughput improvements; IMS will provide a flexible architecture enabling new and more advanced multimedia applications; and IP UTRAN will realize network efficiencies and reduce costs.
Vicki Livingston, 3G Americas’ Director of Marketing, commented, “Release 5 takes UMTS a step further with enhancements that will benefit both customers and operators with higher data rates at lower cost.” Livingston continued, “One example is the cost advantage of 3G over 2G with the cost per megabyte falling from several dollars to less than ten cents per megabyte. This lower cost means compelling services can be delivered at reasonable prices, helping 3G to reach critical mass.”
In the U.S. market, AT&T Wireless announced plans to commercially launch UMTS in four markets by the end of 2004. Cingular has announced UMTS trials in Atlanta this summer with potential UMTS commercial deployments in 2005.