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Western Europe 3G Subscriber Additions

New customers signing up to WCDMA price plans in western Europe accounted for almost one third of the region's total mobile net adds in 4Q05, according to latest research published by Informa Telecoms & Media.

Western Europe saw 4 million new WCDMA subscribers in 4Q05, equivalent to 32.3 percent of the region's 12.39 million total net adds for the period, and giving the strongest indication yet that 3G is finally gaining momentum.

Worldwide, there were about 8.4 million WCDMA net adds in 4Q05, a run rate of 8.07 percent of global net adds, while Asia Pacific saw the most successful WCDMA take-up in absolute terms recording 4.4 million net adds in 4Q05, or 11.08 percent of the region's total net adds.

"After years of hype, delays, skepticism and then disappointment, it is a welcome relief to say that WCDMA has finally come of age," says Gavin Patterson, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "Preliminary figures show that end-2005 there were 44.42 million WCDMA subscribers worldwide, an increase of 163.62 percent over the 16.85 million subs registered as of Dec. 31, 2004."

And now, not only has WCDMA arrived, but operators are this year looking to the advent of true, mobile broadband services with the introduction of HSDPA networks and handsets. Patterson says the arrival of HSDPA is an important milestone for the GSM community as, for the first time, it will make broadband Internet access a truly mobile experience.

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