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Friday, 11 May, 2001, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Europe set to win 3G battle
Nokia, Mitsubishi and Motorola phones
Promoters of GSM mobile phone technology scent victory in the 3G battle
The mobile phone technology standard in Europe and much of Asia will grab more than 85% of the third-generation (3G) wireless market, promoters of the technology have said.

The prediction was made by the London-based GSM Association, which also said more than half a billion handsets using existing 'global system for mobiles' (GSM) technology were now in use worldwide, accounting for 70% of the world's digital mobile phones.

GSM is the leading second-generation (2G) wireless technology in Europe and Asia.

Competing 2G technologies in the United States, CDMA and TDMA, had 92 million and 75 million users respectively.

PDC technology used in Japan - including the popular i-mode mobile internet service - had 53 million users, the GSM Association said.

Competing 3G technologies

The next battleground for competing technologies is 3G mobile telephony, which will offer users new services such as video, faster internet access and networked games.

The GSM Association said it expected the GSM family's 3G technology, 3GSM - also known as W-CDMA - to take more than 85% of the market.

This is the technology promoted by most European telecoms firms.

The main competing 3G technology - CDMA2000 - is being advocated by US wireless technology firm Qualcomm, which has said it sees "significant" demand for its products.

Some countries are attempting to embrace both technologies.

South Korea has already awarded two 3G licences based on W-CDMA technology and has said it wants to award a third licence to use CDMA2000 technology.

Some operators in Japan and the US have also said they will operate CDMA2000-based services but most prospective 3G operators worldwide are opting for W-CDMA.

In a move that some analysts say signals its defeat on the global stage, Qualcomm has said that future 3G phones could, and should, incorporate both W-CDMA and CDMA2000 technology.

China tops GSM users list

Europe accounts for 313 million of the world's GSM phone users while 142 million are in the Asia-Pacific region.

China has the most GSM users of any individual country, with 82.4 million.

The GSM Association said it expected a surge in GSM phone use in the US after some operators decided to overlay TDMA networks with GSM.

It also predicted a 10-fold increase within 12-18 months in GSM usage in Latin America, after several key countries decided to adopt the technology.


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