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100 million European 3G subscribers

Thursday 10 July 2008

At end-May 2008, Informa's World Cellular Information Service shows there were 101.5 million WCDMA subscriptions in Europe out of a total of 910.8 million mobile subscriptions, taking WCDMA penetration to 11.1% of subscriptions. Informa’s WCDMA-subscription figures refer to WCDMA devices, including HSPA devices, that are actively used for voice or data services, or both.

Penetration of WCDMA is generally highest in markets where the technology was launched earliest. Italy became the first market in Europe to offer WCDMA devices when 3 Italia launched services in March 2003. The country now accounts for a quarter of Europe’s WCDMA subscriptions and has one of the highest 3G penetration rates, with 28.7% of subscriptions via WCDMA devices at end-May. Other markets where operator 3 launched in H1/2003 also have high 3G penetration rates, notably Austria, Sweden and the UK. A slight slowdown in the growth in WCDMA handset sales in Western Europe in Q1/2008 was counteracted by an acceleration in sales of WCDMA/HSPA data cards and modems, which boosted the size of the total 3G market, particularly in Sweden and Austria. WCDMA-device sales in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have to date been far lower than in Western Europe. WCDMA subscriptions totaled just 7.8 million, or 1.9% of the total, at end-May 2008, according to Informa’s data. As a result, Slovenia and Georgia are the only markets in CEE where penetration of WCDMA has exceeded 10% of total subscriptions. As the cost of WCDMA devices falls worldwide, Informa forecasts that the CEE region will reach 10% WCDMA penetration by early 2011.

Statistics are provided by the senior analyst support service World Cellular Information Service (WCIS), previously known as under the EMC brand.