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Lots of Life Left in 2 & 3G

ELECTRONICS.CA PUBLICATIONS, the electronics industry market research and knowledge network, announces the availability of a new report entitled "Global 3G Market Review".

These days mobile broadband talk is all about LTE, WiMAX and 4G. These topics dominate discussions at trade shows and coverage in trade publications. It is as if 3G is on its death knell and 2G but a distant memory. When looking at the facts however the reality of today’s mobile data networks are quite the opposite. 2G dominates, with 3G just coming into its own, according to a market research report available at Electronics.ca Publications.

Hype cycles in the wireless industry operate at much higher velocity than the actual market. It can take decade or more for an operator to shut down a legacy network. AT&T started transitioning users off its 1G network, TDMA, in 2001. The network was not completely shut down until last year. NTT DOCOMO, which launched the first 3G network in 2001, stated in February of 2009 that it would shut down its 2G network in 2012. In many areas of the world, such as India and Africa, 2G has many years of life left. China has just begun to roll out 3G networks. India, the second most populated country in the world lags China in this area.

Next time you start to hear about the oncoming rush of 4G, here are a few data points to put it into perspective:

• Over half of all base stations shipped in 2008 were 2G.

• In 2012 LTE base stations will be less than 1% of all base station shipments for the year. Shipments of 2G base stations, primarily those using EDGE, will be 25 times greater than those with LTE in 2012.

• In 2013, of the over 1.5 billion handsets, the report forecasts to ship that year, only 1.7% will be LTE. The rest will consist of 2&3G technologies.

• Looking at mobile data revenues, 3G service revenues will not overtake 2G revenues until 2012.

• While 2G in total generates more revenue, on a per user basis, 3G has higher average revenue per user.

• The top markets for 3G are North America, Western Europe, and the developed regions of Asia.

There are several reasons why these older technologies will still be around long after operators start talking about their 4G networks. For one, not all regions of the world develop at the same rate. Less economically developed regions are slower to adopt newer technologies. Secondly older technologies are needed to ensure total coverage of a region. Take a look at the US.

The US has several well developed 3G networks. These networks however lack total nationwide coverage. Operators when deploying new networks start in areas with the highest population concentrations. Today 3G can mainly be found in larger US metro areas. Operators keep their 2G networks in operation to provide coverage, albeit slower, for users traveling outside of those areas. To retire an older network an operator needs to have complete coverage in its network with the newer technology, and make sure all of its subscribers have devices that can work with the newer network. As we will see in the next decade with 4G, these things take lots of time.

Details of the new report, table of contents and ordering information can be found on Electronics.ca Publications' web site. View the report: http://www.electronics.ca/publications/products/Global-3G-Market-Review.html

Electronics.ca Publications is a world-class research network and publishing company whose focus is technology and market research for the electronics industry. Our network spans dozens of areas of electronics expertise, and taps the knowledge of researchers and analysts internationally. We deliver critical information on the semiconductor, advanced materials, nanotechnology, electronics manufacturing, wireless technology and converging markets, to name a few.

Electronics.ca Publications
Chiaki Sadanaga
Communications Manager
+1 514 429 1520

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