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GSM Remains First Choice

3G Americas today reported that in the first quarter of 2004, GSM remains by far the number one mobile technology chosen by new customers in North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. There were nearly 10.5 million new GSM customers added in the Americas in the first quarter 2004: in the United States and Canada, there were nearly 4.8 million new GSM customers; and in Latin America and the Caribbean, GSM was chosen by nearly 5.7 million new customers. Information is based on the EMC World Cellular Database.

GSM is the technology used by more than one billion customers — representing 73% of the digital wireless market today. Globally, GSM added 215.3 million new customers from March 2003 to March 2004, more than the total customer base of any other wireless technology in the world today. In the first quarter of 2004, new GSM customers throughout the world totaled nearly 55 million.

GSM continues its robust growth year-over-year, adding nearly 35 million customers in the Americas for an annual gain of 118% from March 2003 to March 2004. This growth rate builds on the momentum of GSM in the Americas, which had recorded a 100% gain from December 2002 to December 2003. According to data from EMC, GSM annual percentage growth is five times that of any other wireless technology in the Americas.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, GSM growth continues at a phenomenal pace of nearly 190% during this one-year period ended March 2004. Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and Caribbean for 3G Americas noted that the decisions in favor of GSM in the Latin American key markets are indicative of the regional trend. Rojas stated, “Countries that are rapidly expanding their GSM customer base include Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, and Jamaica. The numbers are remarkable.” In Mexico, GSM grew by nearly 710% annually (through March 2004) adding 5.9 million new customers and in Brazil, GSM showed more than 300% annual growth in the same time period, adding 6.8 million new customers compared to less than half that amount of new CDMA customers (3.3 million). Chile remains a strong GSM market adding more than one million new customers in the year ending March 2004. Colombia only began offering GSM in the past year and now reports 1.7 million customers in March 2004. Rojas continued, “We are seeing newly licensed operators, as well as a large number of both TDMA and CDMA operators, choose GSM for their next generation technology migration strategy.”

GSM in the U.S. and Canada showed outstanding results for the GSM operators with more than an 82% annual growth during the one year ending March 2004.

“GSM continues to be the fastest growing wireless technology in the Americas,” stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. “The industry is seeing global commercial deployments of EDGE technology, the fastest nationwide wireless data service available now to more than 220 million people in the U.S. and launched by seventeen operators worldwide. Globally, there are 94 operators in 58 countries committed to deploying EDGE who represent more than a quarter of a billion customers in their subscriber base.”

For charts on GSM growth, visit the 3G Americas website at: www.3gamericas.org/English/statistics/index.cfm.

About Fabrizio Pilato

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