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New Mobile Subscribers Continue to Climb

Worldwide sales of radio access network (RAN) equipment are down 2 percent to $10 billion in 3Q07, following a 4 percent increase in 2Q07, according to Infonetics Research.

Meanwhile, the number of mobile subscribers continues to climb, expected to be up 20 percent year-over-year by the end of 2007, and forecast to reach 4.2 billion worldwide by 2010, the report shows.

"The decline in the RAN market in the third quarter was caused primarily by a slowdown in network upgrades in North America and Europe, and by cutthroat competition in new network deployments that pushed prices down in Asia Pacific, Africa, and Latin America," said Stephane Teral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure at Infonetics.

"In addition, the delay in 3G license issuance in both China and India is exacerbating the already weak 3G infrastructure market."

Although there is no question that the GSM market is holding up with deployments continuing unabated, the report says, current infrastructure pricing structures and gloomy guidance from Ericsson, who lost market share this quarter, will lead to a continued decline in GSM RAN revenue year-over-year.

Highlights from the Infonetics report include:

- Worldwide mobile core network equipment sales, including GPRS core network and PDSN equipment, are forecast to grow 2 percent between 2006 and 2007.

- Worldwide sales of home location register (HLR) equipment inched up 1 percent in 3Q07.

- Base transceiver stations (BTS) currently make up more than 3/4 of worldwide RAN equipment sales, and base station controllers (BSC) make up the remainder; these proportions will change radically beginning in 2Q08.

- Sales of CDMA equipment are up 8 percent, W-CDMA equipment sales are down 10 percent in 3Q07.

- By 2010, nearly half of the world's mobile subscribers will hail from Asia Pacific.

- Asia Pacific accounts for 41 percent of RAN equipment revenue in 3Q07, EMEA for 28 percent, CALA 16 percent, and North America 15 percent.

- Although they lost market share in 3Q07, Ericsson maintains its lead in the overall RAN equipment market, followed by Nokia Siemens Networks, then Alcatel-Lucent.

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