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November 30, 2010

Over two billion people covered by 3G, 4G data services: ABI Research

More than 500 3G network commitments, and over 300 WiMAX and LTE announcements

By CBR Staff Writer

More than two billion of the world’s population is being covered by high-speed data networks, including 3G and 4G data services, according to new data from ABI Research.

ABI Research data also indicate that there are currently more than 500 3G network commitments, and over 300 WiMAX and LTE announcements have been made worldwide.

ABI Research mobile services research practice director Neil Strother said while many networks in US and Europe are working towards complete coverage for 3G services, some mobile operators in other regions find themselves tangled up with government bureaucracy.

"India has at last concluded its 3G spectrum auction after repeated delays; Thailand’s attempt to catch up with 3G licensing has once again stalled due to reorganisation of the telecoms regulator," Strother said.

ABI Research estimates that nearly 82% of the population in Western Europe is currently covered by 3G networks, while only about 12% of Asia-Pacific’s population has access to 3G services.

ABI research associate Fei Feng Seet said 3G coverage in the Asia-Pacific region is set to rise dramatically in the next few years as Chinese and Indian operators such as China Unicom and Bharti Airtel begin actively rolling out new data networks.

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French mobile operator SFR will be sharing the rural build-out of its UMTS network with domestic rivals Orange France and Bouygues Telecom, while T-mobile and Orange UK have formed a new joint venture called "Everything Everywhere" in a bid to share costs and spectrum, the research firm said.

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