Analyst: US 3G growth pulls even with Europe

The US has finally caught up with Western Europe in 3G wireless adoption, according to one analyst group, citing an 80 percent market surge over the past year. And Asia-Pacific, other research says, may actually be lagging behind.

As of June 2008, a total of 28.4 percent of US mobile subscribers (64.2 million) were equipped with 3G devices, in comparison to 28.3 percent across the largest countries in Europe, says a new report from ComScore released today.

Still, use of 3G devices continued to rise throughout Western Europe. In the twelve-month period starting in June 2007, penetration of 3G devices among mobile subscribers stepped from 19.9% to 27.6% in the UK, for example, and from 15.1% to 23.9% in Germany.

France and Italy grew the slowest among the five European countries examined, whereas Spain accelerated fastest in 3G penetration.

As might be expected, mobile device makers are taking advantage of the leap to faster networks by producing new devices. According to a recent report by Avian Securities, about three-quarters of the more than 100 mobile phones released between July and December 2008 will be 3G-enabled.

Other recent research shows that although the Asia-Pacific region is leading the world in mobile phone penetration, it continues to lag behind both the US and Europe in broadband Internet.

Asia-Pacific now has about 1.4 billion mobile phone subscribers, representing 42% of the global market, and this market share is expected to surpass 50% by 2010, according to a new report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Only 3.6% of residents in that region, ITU says, now have any sort of high-speed Internet connection.

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