By David Byrd
For years telecommunications has sought ubiquity of phone service globally. A major impediment to such an achievement was the cost and complexity of building out the required network infrastructure. Cellular/wireless technology reduced the cost, complexity and allowed for phone service to be expanded into rural and third world geographies more rapidly than previously forecasted. For example, as wireline connections fall in the U.S., wireline connections now exceed the total population with an individual subscriber rate of nearly 250 million people.
Globally, according to 4G Americas and Informa Telecom and Media, there are now 6.4 billion wireless connections, a volume that represents 92 percent of the world’s population. This is astounding when compared to the number of global landlines, which stands today at 1.14 billion or a distant 16 percent of the global population.
To be clear, these numbers do not represent individual users as some subscribers have multiple wireless connections. However, it is clear that the path to global ubiquitous phone service is through wireless technologies. The following represents the information released by 4G Americas.
The following global statistics were reported at the end of the 3Q 2012:
- 6.4 billion total cellular connections
- 5.8 billion 3GPP subscriptions (90 percent market share)
- 1 billion HSPA-LTE mobile broadband subscriptions
- 242 HSPA+ networks in 119 countries
- 43.7 million LTE subscriptions
Following are key regional statistics for the 3GPP family of technologies:
Western Hemisphere - All Americas
- 828 million 3GPP subscriptions; nearly 80 percent market share
- 220 million HSPA mobile broadband subscriptions; quarterly addition of 10 million subscribers
- 242 million HSPA-LTE subscriptions; annual addition (12 months) of 79 million subscriptions for 48 percent annual growth
North America - U.S. and Canada
- 180.7 million 3GPP subscriptions; 49 percent market share
- 139 million HSPA-LTE mobile broadband subscriptions; annual addition of 40 million connections
- No. 1 in LTE subscriptions worldwide: 22.3 million LTE connections; quarterly addition of 6.9 million LTE connections
Latin America and Caribbean
- 647 million 3GPP subscriptions; 96 percent market share; annual addition of 64 million connections; quarterly addition of 15 million subscriptions
- 103 million HSPA connections; annual addition of 38.6 million subscriptions; quarterly addition of 7 million subscriptions
David Byrd is chief marketing officer and executive vice president of channel sales for ANPI ZONE . He previously spent five years as vice president of marketing and sales for Broadvox and before that was vice president of channels and alliances for Eftia and Telcordia.