GSM Expands Lead in Americas

GSM has taken a majority share in North America, according to data released Thursday by industry group 3G Americas. As of the end of the second quarter of 2006, GSM had added 100 million new customers over the past year to end the period with a 51 percent share.

The technology's share grew 13 percent over the past year, further solidifying its lead as the top wireless technology. The group pointed to CDMA's loss of momentum in key countries like Brazil as a reason for GSM's growth, as well as increasing numbers of CDMA operators transitioning to what has become the de facto global standard.

"GSM has overtaken all other wireless technologies and is the consumer's number one choice," 3GAmericas Latin American director Erasmo Rojas said. "As CDMA technology growth loses its momentum in Brazil and across the Americas region, one can clearly see why operators, such as Brazil's market leader VIVO, are choosing to deploy GSM."

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North America plays host to the largest CDMA-based operator in the world, Verizon Wireless, with nearly 55 million customers. However, mergers like that of AT&T Wireless and Cingular on the GSM side, as well as migrations from CDMA and TDMA to GSM helped the standard to gain a foothold.

North American additions accounted for one fifth of the total net GSM adds worldwide over the past year, said the group. As of the end of June, 2 billion of the 2.41 billion wireless users worldwide used the technology.

On the data side, HSDPA/UMTS continued to make gains, more than doubling the number of subscribers to 70 million, the group said.

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